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SRM tools struggle to meet today's demands

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New SRM metrics

Storage administrators still need the basic metrics around available storage. "They want to get a handle on capacity; what's available and when they're going to run out," IDC's Scully said. In the decade or more since SRM appeared, however, the IT infrastructure has changed, growing far more complex. This complicates the storage resource management challenge.

Virtualization, for example, creates problems for storage admins. "You lose visibility," Scully noted. "You no longer see a one-to-one server-storage relationship." Now storage admins need automated discovery and path mapping from the application and the virtual machine to the physical server, through the network switch to the storage array and down to the LUN and file system. Throw all of that into a multivendor environment and the complications snowball.

Today's heightened focus on governance, risk and compliance (GRC) also puts new demands on storage resource management. "You need the SRM tool to track storage usage against policies," Scully said.

Still, Scully hasn't sensed any clamor at the storage admin level for new SRM metrics. "Many are too busy just trying to keep up to think about new metrics. This is really a higher-level IT concern," he said, that shows up at the data center level.

The new SRM metrics fall into three broad categories: performance metrics, backup and disaster recovery metrics, and green metrics (see "New SRM metrics," below). The

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"green" category is only just emerging.

New SRM metrics

These new storage metrics, based on input from storage administrators and analysts, should find their way into future storage management products and practices:

  • Cost per IOPS
  • Kilowatt per IOPS
  • Kilowatt per unit of bandwidth
  • Kilowatt per TB
  • Backup errors per night/week
  • Speed to recover disk/file/server
  • Storage usage per user/application/business unit
  • Storage usage by tier/HBA/LUN
  • Storage compliance with SLA

This was first published in April 2010

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