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SRM tools are taking on new tasks, refining their data and device reporting capabilities and becoming much more closely linked to mission-critical business applications.

GONE ARE THE DAYS WHEN STORAGE RESOURCE management (SRM) products from hardware vendors managed only their devices. Storage stalwarts such as EMC Corp., Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co., IBM Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc. have acquired SRM software companies and upgraded their native subsystem software to better report and manage heterogeneous storage, propelling these companies into a leadership position for SRM tools.

Several factors have contributed to this trend. More storage devices can be managed through a Web interface, and maturing storage standards now allow storage vendors to manage their competitors' devices. But even though SRM tools have taken huge steps in working in a mixed storage environment, it's too early to declare total victory. Discovering and managing different host bus adapter (HBA) and storage array firmware levels, troubleshooting performance problems and mapping out SAN topologies aren't trivial issues.

Reacting to hardware vendors' growing control of the SRM market, several large SRM software vendors are repositioning their tools to be more tightly linked to business apps. Computer Associates (CA) International Inc.'s BrightStor r11.5 includes a new business analytics component, Storage Command Center, which takes raw technical

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information and presents it in a more readable format as a business dashboard. This allows executives to recognize how key storage assets are performing and supporting vital business processes. Symantec Corp./Veritas Software's CommandCentral 4.2 includes new metering functionality obtained as part of Veritas' acquisition of Ejasent; the feature ties together storage management, CPU utilization reporting and chargeback within a single interface.

In addition, smaller SRM software vendors are taking steps to solidify the niches in which they play. Tampa, FL-based Northern Parklife's Northern Storage Suite remains focused solely on the Windows environment and has no plans to support operating systems or storage devices other than CIFS-compliant NAS. Softek Storage Solutions Corp. has refocused its efforts around the data migration market; its Transparent Data Migration Facility (TDMF) allows a server to migrate data between internal storage volumes, while its Replicator product migrates data from one server to another using TCP/IP.

This was first published in January 2006

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