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Single-pane storage management

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The ultimate storage management objective is the ability to react to storage events such as volumes running low on capacity or error conditions without human interaction. Although we find policy-based provisioning and process automation in Symantec's CommandCentral and EMC ControlCenter in the form of its automated resource management (ARM), ESG's Babineau believes most customers aren't ready for fully automated storage management. "In 2006, modeling will be big. Being able to model additions and changes to your storage environment but apply them manually is one step prior to full automation, for which the storage community is not ready yet," concludes Babineau.

As storage, server and network management grow closer, storage management suite vendors are extending their applications beyond storage management toward complete infrastructure management, including server and network management. For example, HP added storage management capabilities to the 5.0 release of Systems Insight Manager (SIM). Furthermore, HP's Storage Essentials and SIM are closely linked by a common security model, database of objects, as well as common monitoring and event handling. "As far as HP OpenView network management is concerned, it will stay separate for now," says Rich Escott, director, storage resource management software at HP. "Although there are interfaces between OpenView and SIM/Storage Essentials."

Along the same lines, IBM will couple storage and server

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management over time. EMC, on the other hand, will add network management features to ControlCenter by integrating the recently acquired SMARTS technology into ControlCenter by the end of 2006 to foster EMC's current focus on disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity. "For DR and business continuity, IP network management that's able to manage the network of connected sites is crucial," says EMC's Kennelly.

Although storage management vendors want their suites to be the center of the storage universe, managing heterogeneous storage components from a single console is only possible to a very limited extent today. For storage environments that have standardized on Fibre Channel using a minuscule number of storage elements from major storage vendors, single pane-of-glass management is well in reach. Beyond that, single pane-of-glass storage management of very heterogeneous environments is a fiction and will require storage management standards to mature before it can become a reality.

This was first published in May 2006

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