Joel, in your experience have you seen any tools or applications that analyze actual data usage in order to establish real time usage patterns of all data assets and provide usage trends over time?
The reason I am asking is I have been looking for a product/company that provides a dynamic and automated solution to what has historically been, a consulting engagement to determine or classify someone's data and the usage of data and where the result or deliverable has been a "static" study-document.
There are now so many tools out there that you can almost pick and choose the right feature/price combination for your environment and not go wrong even with the requirements for real time analysis that you mentioned. Especially since nearly all of them feature a central view of computer storage resources and their usage. I'd highly recommend reading this article that appeared in the March issue of the new Storage magazine. Dennis Martin gives an excellent overview of the better SRM tools out there.
In my personal experience, I've seen some of EMC's and Hitachi's products and a few non-stand alone offerings. It all really depends upon what your environment is like. For example, do you need charge-back/cost-accounting functionality or just need to maximize performance, or both? And if so, do you need to monitor NAS, SAN and DAS or just DAS?
I agree 100% with Dennis' statement that, "Choosing a good SRM package allows those assigned with storage management and administration responsibilities to be trained on one SRM tool that works regardless of the storage hardware. This lets you get more control of your constantly growing storage empire. After all, you don't want to be the last to know that your storage inventory is out of whack with your company's business needs." So don't skimp on features to save a few bucks.
Let me know if you need more information or find yourself unable to address some specific requirement that the above tools aren't able to meet.
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This was first published in April 2002