1. What is the depth of coverage your solution provides, and what type of information will it give me?
A solid SRM solution should provide the detailed information you need to accurately analyze current operations and plan for the future. Having the ability to immediately visualize your infrastructure's capacity allocation, identify top storage consumers, assess backup performance, determine capacity by application and track media consumption levels is absolutely critical. In order to provide this level of information, the SRM solution should cover applications, file-level detail, DAS, NAS, SANs and the backup environment.
2. What is the breadth of coverage your solution provides, and what type of hardware and software do you support?
Today's storage environments are complex, multivendor infrastructures. You have rightfully chosen hardware and software
3. How does your solution collect data across multiple geographically dispersed locations?
If your infrastructure is distributed, your SRM solution must scale effectively. This means ensuring that a single copy of the application will scale to collect data from multiple sites and provide a single, consolidated, end-to-end view of the infrastructure. This level of functionality dramatically simplifies storage management, which provides economies of scale for your overall storage management costs. Deploying multiple copies of an SRM solution should not be required.
4. Can I define the way individuals within my company view information, based upon their responsibility in the company?
While the ability to create role-specific views is extremely important, a good SRM solution should expand that capability to include views based on domain responsibility as well. This enables you to ensure that information is shared in a way that preserves your existing organizational structure. For instance, you can give a storage administrator the ability to view information on only site A, or application B, or both, rather than enterprise-wide access.
5. How easy is your solution to deploy, and how secure is it once deployed?
To reduce deployment time and effort, choose SRM solutions with agent data collectors that do not require any system reboots and are compatible with existing software distribution tools. To minimize performance hits, look for solutions with a footprint of less than 5 to 10 megabytes. Regarding security, consider solutions that authenticate and encrypt all communications between agents and databases. Many agents/APIs require username/password combinations. Most security experts consider sending these over the Ethernet network in unencrypted form, a serious security vulnerability.
About the author
Hemant Kurande is Storability Software's CTO.
This was first published in April 2004