This content is part of the Essential Guide: Best data storage products 2014: Products of the Year

Data storage management tools: 2014 Products of the Year finalists

The finalists in the storage management tools category offer analytics, monitoring and automation for physical and virtual environments.

There are nine finalists in the data storage management tools category for the Storage magazine/ 2014 Products of the Year competition. The majority of the entries are upgrades to existing products, though several are relatively new to the market. Only two of the products were finalists in 2013, one of which earned a bronze.

Products eligible for the storage management tools category include storage resource management (SRM) and SAN management software, performance monitoring, configuration management, provisioning and data reduction.

Arxscan Arxview Data Center Analytics Engine version 2.1

Arxscan is still a newcomer, but version 2.1 of its monitoring and analytics software provides data on all the major components in a variety of environments -- SAN, NAS, DAS, Fibre Channel switching and virtual machines -- all under one dashboard. Version 2.1 added support for additional switching vendors, including Brocade Communications Systems and Cisco, as well as for additional array vendors, including EMC, Hitachi Data Systems and IBM.

Data Dynamics Inc. StorageX 7.5

Data Dynamics was a finalist in 2013, and this year released version 7.5 of its StorageX automation software. The product facilitates file migration by moving data from primary storage to secondary storage based on user-specified criteria. This newest version of StorageX added namespace capabilities, including creation, backup/recovery and policy reports. CIFS- and NetApp-based resource monitoring capabilities were also added.

Hewlett-Packard OneView for VMware vCenter 7.4.2

Hewlett-Packard (HP) OneView for VMware vCenter is integration software that allows the management and provisioning features of HP hardware through VMware's vCenter console. Version 7.4.2 provides automation for SAN zoning storage allocation and improved performance monitoring capabilities.

Nexenta Systems Inc. NexentaConnect for VMware Horizon 3.0

This year, Nexenta upgraded its NexentaConnect management software for VMware virtual desktop environments. The product, which automates storage provisioning and provides disaster recovery features, integrates storage and desktop management. Version 3.0 offers improved caching and I/O reduction, and deduplication and compression capabilities. It also added support for shared-nothing, stateless desktop configurations.

Rocket Software Inc. Rocket Arkivio Autostor version 7.1

Rocket Software's data management software provides reporting, data and storage classification capabilities, and automated policy actions for cloud environments. The software allows users to build custom reports, apply data retention policies and reclaim primary storage capacity, and manage the data in public, private or hybrid cloud storage configurations. Support for Amazon S3 was added in version 7.1, as well as features such as a custom report builder and DFS support.

Symantec Corp. Storage Foundation 6.1

Symantec's Storage Foundation software was upgraded in December 2013 with a focus on flash. In version 6.1, the addition of SmartIO allows flash-read caching of hot data on local solid-state drives. A Flexible Storage Sharing feature lets DAS act as shared storage for file systems and parallel applications.

Virtual Instruments VirtualWisdom4

VirtualWisdom software is a hardware-agnostic SAN monitoring tool that provides a real-time view of utilization and performance. This newest version added at-a-glance performance views, upgraded analytics capabilities and case-based alarms. A NAS monitoring probe offers increased visibility.

VMTurbo Inc. Operations Manager 4.7

The third-place winner of 2013 is back with an upgraded product in 2014 for monitoring and analyzing virtual environments. Operations Manager, along with its Storage Control Module feature, uses storage metrics, workload requirements and user-defined constraints to make data placement recommendations. Workload placement and resource configuration can also be automated.

Zoho Corp. ManageEngine OpStor version 9

ManageEngine OpStor is an SRM product that monitors SAN and NAS devices and servers from a wide array of major vendors. The software provides a map view of storage metrics, and the latest version included support for EMC Avamar, a redesigned dashboard and plugin support for ManageEngine's OpManager network monitoring tool.

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