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Symantec adds change management to SRM application

CommandCentral storage resource management will be integrated with Symantec's new Storage Change Manager, with agentless options for both software modules.

Symantec Corp. is integrating a change management application with its CommandCentral Storage SRM application, and is also making agentless options available for both pieces of software.

New features in Veritas Storage Change Manager include modeling of paths between hosts, networks and disk arrays; alerts if configurations go against user-set policies; and reports that can be shared by storage and server teams.Storage Change Manager uses the same discovery engine as CommandCentral, and the two applications can trigger processes within each other depending on the task.

"If I'm troubleshooting an array in Change Manager and want to know more about how its storage is allocated, I can cross-launch CommandCentral," said Yogesh Agrawal, senior director of the Command Central product line. CommandCentral and Change Manager will have a single installation, with license keys used to open up desired modules. Both products have also added support for Windows Server 2008, RedHat 4 and 5 (32- and 64-bit), SUSE 9 and 10 (32- and 64-bit), VMware 3.5.x and ESXi.

Change Manager lacks the predictive change management features included in competing products such as SANScreen from NetApp subsidiary Onaro. Predictive change management lets users construct what-if scenarios before actually making changes. Agrawal says that the next version of Change Manager will include this capability.

Change Manager will also eventually be integrated with Symantec's Storage Foundation, which views storage from the host side. Until now, CommandCentral required agents to monitor the storage infrastructure.

With the new release, customers have the option of deploying agentless versions of both Change Manager and Storage Foundation. "Most of the value in this kind of tool is in understanding the path from the host to the storage and overall host/storage connectivity," Agrawal said, adding, "80% of what users most want, we can deliver agentless."

The agentless options will track configuration information through the switch, via SNMP traps as well as other collection methods, discovering SAN zones, host connections and allocated storage. More granular operations such as actual storage utilization will still require software agents.

With this release, Symantec is addressing the most common hurdles to adoption of SRM tools. "It still seems SRM software isn't viewed as a must-have," said Bob Laliberte, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group. According to Laliberte, this is due to several factors, including pressure to avoid capital expenditures; the complexity of some SRM tools; and resistance to managing software agents.

The new modules and pricing could boost interest in SRM tools, Laliberte said. "Products like this in times like this become more important than ever," he said. "There are still efficiencies to be gained."

Pricing for Storage Change Manager begins at $20,000, which includes the ability to manage all servers attached to 32 SAN switch ports.

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