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SRM solutions in production environments
According to a recent Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) research report, "SRM on the Brink," 37% of midsized and enterprise companies have deployed SRM apps and an additional 40% of those surveyed are planning to implement these types of tools. As that 40% begins to make purchasing decisions and deploy production systems, SRM will quickly become a mainstream, must-have reporting and analysis capability for all types of data centers seeking to contain storage-related costs and improve end-to-end application and business process performance.

It's interesting to note that of those organizations with active SRM solutions, 55% have been using SRM tools in production environments for three years or more. Twenty-six percent report active use for between one and two years, while 16% report active use of less than one year.

Larger organizations are more likely to use SRM tools. Almost half (49%) of surveyed enterprises have deployed SRM software in production environments, and an additional 37% are planning to because they have larger and more complex environments. By comparison, only 21% of midsized organizations have production implementations up and running. As the scale of midsized organizations' storage environments increases, and a new generation of more cost-effective and easier-to-deploy SRM tools and services become available, midsized

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firms will likely become more interested in SRM. This assessment is supported by reports that 46% of midsized organizations plan to deploy SRM software in their production environments in the future. This will be especially true as virtualization services become more prevalent in this market.

The scope of SRM tools
SRM tools leverage proprietary and standards-based configuration and event information provided by storage device element managers and built-in native monitoring tools. Historically, many SRM tools focused on a specific function, such as topology mapping or storage consumption analysis.

Recently, multiple functions are being combined to create more powerful products. As a result, the list of SRM features has continued to grow over the last five years. Today, SRM covers SAN management reporting, NAS management reporting, device and application performance monitoring and analysis, change management, topology mapping, business continuity and disaster recovery monitoring, process automation, backup reporting, fault correlation and capacity planning. More advanced features that will soon be widely available include analytic tools and policy-based automation of routine storage admin tasks. Many of these tools also feed information into organization-wide service management processes and configuration management databases.

Click here for a chart of
SRM features used most often (PDF).

When polled on all features used in an SRM solution, users cited capacity utilization and reporting most often (see "SRM features used most often," above). Given the pressure to optimize the data center and to reduce power and cooling requirements, this isn't a surprise. IT managers have challenged their staffs to not only drive up server utilization (through virtualization), but to increase their storage utilization rates. Why? Because this feature has the biggest impact on an enterprise's bottom line; increased storage utilization means not only deferring capital expenditures, but fewer storage arrays taking up expensive raised floor space with related power and cooling requirements. By deferring a storage purchase, the enterprise can also take advantage of year-over-year reductions in disk prices.

This was first published in March 2008

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