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6 storage resource management tools offer insights, optimization

Software for managing storage resources provides in-depth information on capacity and performance to help enterprises proactively manage their storage infrastructure.

With the continued growth and complexity of storage environments, storage resource management tools can be invaluable to organizations that need to simplify and optimize their storage infrastructure.

These products collect information to assist IT and storage admins with numerous functions, including performance monitoring, reporting and storage forecasting. However, it isn't always clear how one storage resource management product differs from another, as some vendors have incorporated this storage management functionality into their larger platforms.

To help sort through the different types of tools, here we examine products from six major storage vendors -- Dell EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Hitachi Vantara, IBM, NetApp and Pure Storage -- that include a variety of storage management capabilities and services, We describe how these products differ and what features to look for when choosing storage resource management software.

Dell EMC Storage Resource Manager

Dell EMC Storage Resource Manager is on-premises monitoring and reporting software for visualizing, analyzing and optimizing heterogeneous storage environments and their connected resources, such as hosts, fabrics and applications. In addition to supporting multiple Dell EMC storage and data protection platforms, Storage Resource Manager also offers insights into third-party services, network components and compute resources.

Storage Resource Manager provides end-to-end data path performance analysis that incorporates block, file and object storage. It automatically collects performance data from virtual and physical storage systems, as well as hosts, hypervisors and switches, identifying performance anomalies and taking proactive measures. The platform also offers data protection features such as replication analysis, which helps to ensure application data complies with replication policies.

The platform's reporting engine generates customized reports on capacity, performance, configurations and system health. Storage admins can also track storage consumption and forecast system capabilities to help with planning and purchasing. Product support for Storage Resource Manager is available through Dell EMC Support Services.

HPE InfoSight

The HPE InfoSight cloud-based analytics service incorporates AI, machine learning and predictive analytics to provide insights into HPE storage, server and integrated systems, including HPE SimpliVity and HPE Synergy. Every second, InfoSight collects and analyzes sensor data from more than 12 trillion data points on customer systems across the globe. Storage admins can use the analysis provided to predict and prevent problems, simplify management and resolve issues on specific customer systems.

InfoSight continuously learns from its analysis and uses that knowledge to identify potential issues and optimize managed systems, resulting in better performance and resource use. As part of this process, the service performs what-if simulations to predict performance and capacity usage for new workloads. The platform also uses analytics and predictive capabilities to address potential security and data protection issues on monitored systems across the installed base.

HPE offers InfoSight at no charge to organizations with active support contracts. These sites access the service through a centralized web portal that provides details on their infrastructure stacks, including virtualized environments. The platform provides information about how the organization can improve performance, optimize resources and plan capacity, without the need for admins to install or manage special client software. If InfoSight detects a problem that can't be resolved automatically, HPE support engineers will help identify and resolve the issue.

Hitachi Vantara Ops Center

Hitachi Ops Center is an AI for IT operations, or AIOps, management suite for deploying, monitoring and configuring storage resources across Fibre Channel and iSCSI server connections. Ops Center provides configuration management for Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) systems, along with analytics capabilities that offer end-to-end insights into the full data path -- from storage through VMs. The platform simplifies deployment and management throughout the storage lifecycle.

Ops Center enables IT or storage admins to enforce service-level objectives for performance and capacity across the application path, making it possible to take preemptive action before workloads are affected. The platform's predictive analytics can forecast future performance and capacity requirements. In addition, Ops Center provides 24/7 monitoring and alerting to ensure resources remain protected and operational.

The platform's reporting dashboard offers information on capacity, performance and system health across the Hitachi storage infrastructure. Storage admins can create enterprise-wide views and custom reports, with access to consolidated telemetry for global insights. They can also access Hitachi's Global Support Center infrastructure and expertise. Most of the features available in Ops Center are included with the purchase of a Hitachi Vantara VSP E990 array. An advanced package is available, which includes all features.

IBM Spectrum Control

IBM Spectrum Control is data and storage management software that provides monitoring, automation and analytics for IBM and third-party storage systems, including software-defined storage and SAN fabrics and devices. It consolidates management for file, block and object storage, helping to streamline operations and resolve problems. Along with Spectrum Control, IBM also provides IBM Storage Insights, an IBM Cloud service that helps admins predict and prevent storage problems.

Spectrum Control gives organizations a single point of control for managing their storage infrastructure. They can monitor and manage performance and store key performance statistics such as I/O rates and cache utilization. Storage admins can use the stored metrics for service-level analysis and reporting. In addition, they can set performance thresholds based on selected metrics and configure alerts to be generated when thresholds are exceeded.

The IBM platform provides information on an organization's storage environments from multiple perspectives, including server, department and application. Users can generate and share reports about inventory, capacity, performance and storage consumption. If they encounter problems they can't resolve through the Spectrum Control Knowledge Center, users can contact the IBM Support center for assistance.

NetApp OnCommand Insight

NetApp OnCommand Insight is an IT infrastructure tool for monitoring and managing storage systems from NetApp and other vendors. OnCommand Insight can also monitor virtual server environments and Fibre Channel switches and access gateways. It provides insights into operations, service quality and cost management across systems. Storage admins can discover and monitor resources and their relationships and dependencies to identify misused or underused assets.

OnCommand Insight provides performance data from storage devices, storage networks and VM environments. It maps performance data to hosts, applications and service paths, helping to improve end-to-end performance. Anomaly detection provides application infrastructure awareness and helps storage admins identify changes in resource behavior. They can define policies at multiple levels -- basing them on parameters such as security, connections, sessions and sharing -- and then validate changes against the resulting service model.

The NetApp platform provides reports about trends in storage resource allocation and capacity consumption. It also stores aggregated resource information in a data warehouse, which can be accessed at any time for analysis and forecasting.

Pure Storage Pure1

Pure1 is a cloud-based storage resource management and monitoring platform for Pure Storage arrays. It offers full-stack visibility that extends into VMware VMs, providing information on latency, bandwidth, IOPS and other metrics. The platform incorporates the Pure1 Meta analytics engine, which determines the health and functioning of systems across the entire storage stack. The engine uses AI and machine learning technologies to deliver predictive intelligence that helps organizations forecast capacity and performance needs over time, as well as provide workload consolidation options and hardware upgrades.

The Meta engine collects telemetry data from more than 10,000 Pure Storage arrays and their connected devices, gathering information from more than 1 trillion data points per day. The data provides Pure1 Meta with insights into more than 100,000 workloads, making it possible to predict performance and capacity, as well as model hardware upgrades and preview storage environments based on workload changes. Pure1 Meta also uses the data to protect storage from known vulnerabilities and alert users to potential issues.

If the analysis reveals a potential issue with an organization's system, Pure1 Support automatically notifies them, opens a ticket and proactively remediates the situation, even before a problem has occurred. The Pure1 global dashboard includes a range of reports about array health and performance, as well as recommended actions. Pure1 mobile apps for both iOS and Android provide organizations visibility into their storage and offer access to their support cases.

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