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Hot Spots: New Year's resolution: Get my storage organized

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Here are some of the features you should consider when evaluating SRM solutions. It's unlikely you'll find all of these capabilities in any one solution, so you'll have to prioritize your wish list.
  1. Capacity utilization. To many, storage allocation equals storage utilization. However, these two concepts are quite different. "Allocated" storage has been assigned, typically by the storage administrator, for potential use by application servers. "Utilization" is the measurement of how much data has actually been written to the disk. Just because storage is allocated doesn't mean it's being utilized. To get a complete view of the storage environment, a system that monitors and collects data from both a host and an array level is preferred. This lets you make an accurate assessment of the available raw storage, and allows you to determine how much has been allocated and utilized.


  2. Reporting. It doesn't do any good to collect the data if you aren't going to share it. More advanced reporting functions will leverage Web 2.0 functionality and not only share data, but allow for interaction. The ability to schedule the delivery of reports via email is beneficial. Tiered reporting for business units and executives is also a plus. Many packages provide an open database schema, so you can easily export data

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  1. to an existing report-generation tool for custom reporting needs.


  2. Heterogeneous support. Make sure the product supports your environment. Decide how necessary heterogeneous support is for your environment. How important is support for industry standards like SMI-S? Does the product go beyond SMI-S to provide detailed information? What's the vendor's support roadmap?


  3. Visibility. Do you need a topological display of your environment? These views can be very useful in disaster recovery environments, where single points of failure can be identified. Maybe you need visibility into your storage from the app layer. Is your company replicating data to a second or third site? Would you like to know if all of your data has been synchronized? Is the software capable of tracking snapshots? This is useful from a storage allocation standpoint. Remember, it isn't just primary disk space that should be taken into consideration, but also space for snapshots and replicated environments.


  4. Virtualization support. How important is support for virtualized storage or server environments? Does the SRM solution provide support for one or both? Are you running virtualization services in your production environment? If the packages you're looking at don't support virtualization, when will they? How does that fit into your schedule?


This was first published in January 2008

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