Article

Latest SRM tools overkill for many users

Jo Maitland, Senior Executive Editor

The latest storage resource management (SRM) products to hit the shelves offer sophisticated charge back features, performance tuning and analysis, and automated provisioning. But, these features appear to be overkill for many users who are struggling with basic capacity planning, resource allocation and restarting systems after component failures.

A major health care provider, located in Massachusetts and requesting anonymity, is currently exploring Veritas Software Corp.'s Command Central Services

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SRM software to get a better handle on visualizing its storage resources. It has over 100 TB of storage, mainly on EMC Corp.'s Symmetrix and Clarion arrays, and uses EMC ControlCenter and StorageScope software to manage these systems.

With respect to the Clariion arrays, StorageScope did not provide the company with the reporting information it needed on how much storage it actually had, how much was allocated or how much was in use. An upgrade to the next version of ECC should have fixed the problem, but according to the systems administrator working on the project, the situation didn't improve.

Complexity roadblocks

Similarly, Stephen Hamilton, senior systems analyst with Boston-based State Street Corp. said the supposedly simple task of restarting a controller when one fails took him far too long as he couldn't remember the procedure for it, and the Veritas software he was using was inexplicably complicated. "It's only simple if you do it all the time…in my opinion this stuff is far too complex," he said.

According to Jerry Winner, practice lead for storage services at Novus Consulting, there is always a gulf between the latest software with all the bells and whistles, and the majority of users who are struggling with older products, too few people and not enough budget to upgrade. "It's very frustrating for those folks, They are told that by buying the new software, all their problems will be solved and even then, it's not always the case," Winner said.

A storage administrator from Earl Walls Associates, an architectural and engineering firm in San Diego, said he bought policy-based storage management software recently that was supposed to set policies for moving data based on project status. "We were told it would migrate the data automatically, but this wasn't happening, and it caused a major nightmare," he said. He declined to name the vendor involved as they are still trying to fix the problem.

Winner noted that large organizations have been crying out for tools with more sophisticated functions, like the ability to do policy-based management, allocate storage on the fly and automatically balance workloads among systems. "But it's complex stuff, which doesn't always work as advertised."

That doesn't appear to be putting too many people off, according to the latest numbers from Framingham, Mass.- based International Data Corp. SRM sales grew 30% year over year, representing the largest segment of the storage software market, the firm reported.


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