How can I figure out what the best storage resource management tools are for my environment?
The only real way to figure out what the best SRM tools are for your environment is to detail your company's requirements for your current environment and set priorities for each area today as well as for the future.
I strongly suggest using a spreadsheet program to track the requirements using the following column headings as a guide:
If time and resources are available, you may want to install and test each product in your environment versus having the vendor respond via a request for information (RFI).
You might also want to look at the integration of the SRM solution into the rest of the storage management stack within the environment based on applications, volume management, file systems, host information, and storage device support. Remember, don't just look at the company's requirements today, but look at the future also and how closely the offering and the company map to your company's operating principles and technology ecosystem.
If we look back in time at the framework wars of the 1980's and early 1990's, we see that the frameworks were loaded with features, but the enterprise users never detailed their goals using a framework. As a result, they didn't have a way to know which pieces to install and how to manage their shops to begin with. Most IT managers thought that frameworks were a magic pill that would solve all of their ills. In reality the frameworks only made things harder to understand and required large consulting contracts to implement even the most simple management solution, such as a single event console. Since then the frameworks have unbundled their solutions and delivered many of their solutions as point products. This trend may also be seen in future SRM products as companies look to differentiate themselves with smaller point products that satisfy very specific needs versus providing large, resource intensive products that are akin to frameworks for storage management.
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