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Storage area management, part 2: Storage management vs. enterprise management

You may notice one obvious dichotomy when you walk into a data center. On one side, there are a number of teams -- the desktop team, the Microsoft server team, the Unix team, the mainframe team, the storage team -- each of which needs/wants a set of tools to manage the equipment they are responsible for. On the other side, there are people talking about enterprise management frameworks -- the consolidation of management into one all powerful system.

If I take a simplistic position on this, I would suggest that the high-level management framework absolutely has its place in any large infrastructure. There is no question correlating events in different parts of the infrastructure is useful. For a somewhat strange example, if the thermal warnings trigger on the storage subsystem, you may think you want to get the storage support guy up in the middle of the night to investigate. The problem may be the air-conditioning system that has failed and not the fans in the storage box. By consolidating the monitoring function, it may be possible to detect potential problems earlier, and it is certainly more likely that you can get the right person out quicker to fix the problem.

In addition, by consolidating reporting, it may well be easier to implement effective mechanisms for telling people when there may be a problem. So you can have one system to generate email messages, send text messages or pager messages, and so on.

However, this does not mean that I believe

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that enterprise management frameworks are the answer to all your problems. The reality is that you have different teams, running different parts of the infrastructure. It is quite likely that the best in class storage management systems may not come from the same company that has the best in class network management products. What we would hope is that, just as open standards allow us to choose the best-in-class hardware and management tools, these same management standards should allow us to have the best-in-class storage management tools forwarding alerts into the monitoring enterprise framework.

Click for Part 3: Element management vs. resource management or return to Part 1.


About the author:

About the author: Simon Gordon is a senior solution architect for McDATA based in the UK. Simon has been working as a European expert in storage networking technology for more than 5 years. He specializes in distance solutions and business continuity. Simon has been working in the IT industry for more than 20 years in a variety or technologies and business sectors including software development, systems integration, Unix and open systems, Microsoft infrastructure design as well as storage networking. He is also a contributor to and presenter for the SNIA IP-Storage Forum in Europe.

This was first published in January 2003

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