Automating tedious management tasks has taken center stage in the world of software. At the Storage Networking World conference in Orlando, Fla., on Monday, BMC Software Inc. of Houston became the latest software maker to enter the automation game.
BMC announced an alliance with Invio Software Inc., Palo Alto, Calif., to incorporate Invio's storage automation technology into BMC's Patrol Storage Manager product.
BMC said the resulting management tools would automate storage management from the analysis level to actionable tasks.
The first incarnation of BMC software with Invio's automation engine has been dubbed Patrol Storage Automation-Provisioning. The new software automatically links the storage resources to applications.
Enterprise Storage Group Inc. senior analyst Nancy Marrone said that BMC will have the ability to auto-provision storage like that provided by EMC, InterSAN and CreekPath. However, she added, because BMC will be using the Invio software, which is aimed at storage process automation overall and not just auto-provisioning, the company will be able to take advantage of all of the Invio storage practices.
"This should enable them to jump ahead of the pack, as they would also be able to automate other processes like replication [and] quality of service enforcement," Marrone said. "All the vendors are looking to automate multiple processes, but BMC is now in a very strong position to realize those goals quickly."
BMC said the provisioning piece will be the first in a series of products related to Invio's software.
Invio's standalone product, the Storage Practice Manager, is made up of an automation server that provides common application services for automation, as well as an interface framework for communicating with and controlling hardware devices, file systems and databases.
Patrol Storage Automation-Provisioning will support storage devices from EMC, Hitachi, Brocade and McData. Operating and file system support will include Windows 2000 and Solaris, Veritas Volume Manager, Veritas File System, UFS and NTFS and Oracle databases.
"Lots of these small companies are looking for friends," said Dan Hoffman, director of marketing for BMC. "This is BMC's entry into the automation of storage management. Patrol is a SAN management, SRM and storage monitoring tool."
Provisioning will be sold as an add-on option to BMC's current Patrol Storage Management offering. Pricing of the provisioning product is based on managed terabytes and starts at $8,000.
In September 2002, EMC Corp., Hopkinton, Mass., began selling its own automated storage provisioning software called Automated Resource Manager (ARM), a tool designed to ease the pains of provisioning storage resources to applications by automating the necessary manual steps.
ARM is to allow customers to provision storage through preset policies to support application needs. EMC said policy options can be set for type of storage, RAID level, replication parameters and number of paths between server and storage. ARM also provisions and manages heterogeneous storage pools based on geography, application and functional organization.
IBM has also added automatic storage management features to its Enterprise Storage Server, code-named Shark. IBM says that its "autonomic computing" technology can automatically adapt to new components or changes in the IT environment, detect intruders as they attack, detect improper operations and initiate corrective actions before they occur, and tailor resource allocation and utilization to meet user needs of the moment.
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