Despite years of constrained budgets and limited buying, most organizations believe they can mine more value out of their existing storage assets. Disparate storage area network (SAN) islands and multiple servers--combined with limited reporting capabilities--reinforce this belief. The IT management mandate is clear: Before adding more capacity, get more mileage out of what's already on the floor.
A storage resource management (SRM) tool can identify the capacity you have, control how it's being used and forecast how much more storage you will require. Any SRM tool will collect data on things such as file aging, disk and network performance as well as customer requirements such as application performance expectations. Correlating that information helps determine what pain points to address first. Most organizations will find that their storage infrastructures aren't optimized and that their resources aren't shared.
Keep in mind, however, that all enterprise SRM tools are still developing. Most work best at the departmental level or in geographic locations, although an increasing number now offer the ability to roll data up to provide enterprise reporting. But there's a big difference between enterprise reporting and enterprise management, and being able to do both from the same central console is not here yet, at least, for most products.
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This was first published in May 2004