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Storage resource management tools come in a variety of flavors and offer features that take steps toward automating your storage environment, while reporting on the efficiency of the installed storage systems.


It's no secret storage resource management (SRM) is a large category of disparate products covering most everything from very specialized storage tools to groupings of tools that manage and report on the many different parts of the storage environment. Seven years ago, SRM was focused mainly on provisioning and allocating storage. Many of the products at the time were derived from the numerous storage service providers turned software providers. The tools were somewhat primitive and didn't live up to their hype. But despite the rocky start, SRM companies and their offerings continue to grow.

The definition of what constitutes SRM depends on who you ask and what they're selling. The number of SRM providers has fluctuated over time as innovative startups appear, grow into independent companies, and are then acquired or fold up shop (see "Current SRM vendors," left).

Large storage vendors and ISVs tend to have larger scale, more mature platforms. Smaller ISVs and startups typically deliver deeper functionality within a narrower feature set or focus on a specific problem (e.g., capacity utilization, business continuity/ disaster recovery, etc.).

To

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understand the role of SRM in managing an organization's storage requirements, consider the instruments used to monitor and control a car. A wide and clear windshield is needed to see the way ahead. Easy to use and clearly marked instrumentation continuously monitors and analyzes trends, and recommends adjustments. SRM software functions in much the same way. It monitors the health and utilization of storage resources by providing managers with detailed insight relating to the real-time load being placed on storage resources by servers, switches, backup applications, archives and other systems. Due to an increasing demand for higher service levels for business applications, there's a growing need for application-aware SRM products that extend the spheres of visibility and analysis to include all of the software assets that make use of an organization's storage resources. Given the importance of SRM solutions, how many companies are actually deploying these solutions?

This was first published in March 2008

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