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Rating the product
Here's how Performance Tuner stacks up against our ideal:
- Easy enough to use – After a fairly involved setup, Performance Tuner is simple enough that a junior-level administrator can manage and monitor the product. The powerful graphing and reporting functions effectively summarize a large amount of information into easily understood graphics. In this regard, we would rate Performance Tuner as "very good."
- Performs essential functions without excessive overhead – By providing the three base metrics as the macro view of performance, Softek has crossed our threshold for providing actionable information without obscuring it with irrelevant data. Thus, we give the product an "excellent" rating for this aspect.
- Proactively avoids problems – As a component of ESRM, data gathered by Performance Tuner can be manipulated to create trending and forecast models. As a monitoring and reporting product, Performance Tuner doesn't take remedial action for identified problems. This is the key limitation of most SRM products, so we can't single out Performance Tuner for blame. Other components of Storage Manager, however, do offer some automated capabilities. For this criterion, we give Performance Tuner an "average" rating.
Bearing in mind the adage, "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it," it's surprising that so few IT organizations have deployed an SRM tool. Other performance monitoring methods are available, although mainly from a database or application perspective. Hardware-based monitoring tools are available that deliver precise throughput data, but they don't take remedial action either. Moreover, it's not practical to physically install a device in every data path.
Softek's product offers a unique combination of component-level data gathering that can't be achieved with an application monitor or most SRM products, and a breadth of data gathering and reporting that can't be achieved with a hardware device. The system as configured for our test included Space Optimizer, SANView and Performance Tuner, and has a list price of $58,054, which includes one year of 24x7 technical support.
IT organizations seeking to improve their storage environment performance should begin with an SRM tool, and the Softek suite is a worthy addition to any shortlist of candidates.
This was first published in November 2004