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New products abound, but users staying with the tried-and-true

Kevin Komiega

Storage software is being tweaked, upgraded and re-architected faster than users can get it installed, but some analysts say that while users are eager to get their hands on new software tools, the reality is, they're holding back on major software deployment.

"Customers seem to be staying with 'what works' this year," said analyst Dianne McAdam of Illuminata Inc.

Many users are apprehensive about upgrading or adopting new storage management software, particularly in this economic climate, McAdam said. This may have caused a parallel slowing of adoption of new technology.

In a recent SearchStorage.com survey, more than half of the users polled were iffy on the topic of deploying new software. Twenty-eight percent of users were unsure as to whether they would implement software over the next 12 months and more than 25% had no deployment plans whatsoever.

That hasn't prevented a number of companies from introducing newly enhanced software platforms, however. A number of new announcements were made last week.

CommVault Systems Inc., Oceanport, N.J., introduced a new software platform called QiNetix, which integrates data protection, availability, migration, storage resource and SAN management software tools. Commvault said that QiNetix is based on the concept of a Qualitative Information Network (QiN); this self-managing storage network technology is based on business and operational objectives that map to the treatment of application data.

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QiNetix encompasses five separate functions including backup and recovery, data migration, quick recovery, SRM and SAN management. Customers can run point solutions or add solutions to an installed CommVault point solution when they need them, the company said.

Minneapolis, Minn.-based Sistina Software announced general availability of the latest version of its Global File System (GFS) version 5.1. The GFS is a clustered file system available on all Linux distributions. It consolidates existing server and storage resources into a single management domain, linking diverse data storage repositories. The new version also adds capacity utilization quotas, server specific information within shared directories, direct kernel support for top Linux distributions from RedHat Inc. and SuSE Inc., and application-specific tuning to further enhance scalability and performance.

Advanced Digital Information Corp., Redmond, Wash., also upgraded its management software last week. ADIC has added a new set of features to its StorNext Management Suite data management software for SANs. SNMS 2.1 includes an expansion of its Quality-of-Service policies that allow end users to select specific applications for priority bandwidth allocation and to guarantee that they will always use the most direct route to data stored on Fibre Channel disk.

Mike Fisch, senior analyst for the Wellesley, Mass.-based Clipper Group, said that perceived costs, benefits and risks drive software adoption and will determine whether users will upgrade to a new platform.

The financial costs of licenses, installation and maintenance must be weighed with how the software improves business processes and how it can reduce the total cost of ownership of the IT infrastructure. Risks, he said, are side effects and pitfalls that might occur if the purchase is made. Interoperability problems and training issues are tops on the software upgrade risk list.

"The question each customer must answer is: Do the benefits outweigh the costs and risks? That answer determines buying behavior," he said.

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail Kevin Komiega, News Writer

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