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This article is part of our Essential Guide: 2018 data management and storage Products of the Year finalists

Storage systems and management tools: 2018 POY finalists

Storage management tools candidates for the 2018 Storage Products of the Year competition skew heavily toward simpler interfaces and greater access to real-time data.

The cloud is now nearly ubiquitous in enterprise IT infrastructures. So it's no surprise many of the finalists in this year's storage systems and management tools category in the Storage magazine and SearchStorage Products of the Year competition boast better cloud integration among other touted features.

Being able to move data seamlessly to and from the cloud is high on the list of many of the new features among 2018 storage management contenders. Perhaps taking a cue from the success of hyper-converged infrastructure, ease of management and simplicity of the user interface are also prominently featured on a number of finalist submissions in the storage systems and management tools category.

While last year AI was a common thread, this year direct access to network and fabric data is common to many of the finalists. Being able to pull traffic and telemetry data straight from the fabric or switches that move the data around seems to be vital to quickly determining data management problems.

To be eligible for the storage systems and management tools category, finalist products have to fit into one or more of the following sectors: storage management, performance monitoring, configuration management, provisioning and data reduction software.

Broadcom Brocade SAN Automation

Broadcom taps into some open source technology to make automating SAN management easier than with previous storage systems and management tools based on a command line interface. The vendor combines the PyFOS Python scripting toolset with Ansible automation functionality and RESTful APIs to make an automation tool it claims is reliable, flexible and scalable.

Cisco Systems Data Center Network Manager 11.0.1

Built for customers using Cisco's NX-OS network OS, Data Center Network Manager 11.0.1 is easier to use thanks to direct control of devices via Device Manager built into its web-based user interface. Cisco has also added a new feature called SAN Insights, which pulls telemetry data straight from the network fabric.

JetStream Migrate

JetStream Migrate is cloud migration software that earned the VMware Ready label. Using VMware vSphere APIs for IO filtering (VAIO), JetStream Migrate can migrate VMs from on premises to the cloud automatically and on a schedule, if needed.

Komprise Intelligent Data Management 2.7

Komprise Intelligent Data Management 2.7 runs outside the path of high-demand, or "hot," data so not to negatively affect performance. The data storage systems and management tools software can still move data from hot to cold storage, however, from on premises to cloud, to archives, live and on the fly. According to Komprise, it can scale to hundreds of petabytes on demand.

Quantum StorNext 6.1

StorNext is the data migration backbone to Quantum's Xcellis storage management suite, and the latest version enables users to interface with Amazon's S3 cloud storage -- either as a cloud location for moving data or as a target for data in web-based applications. In addition, version 6.1 supports data migration to and from ANTF formatted tape media.

Virtual Instruments VirtualWisdom 5.6

VirtualWisdom has always taken an application-centric approach to infrastructure monitoring and analytics. In the latest version, Virtual Instruments added integration with Cisco SAN Telemetry Streaming and the APM platform from AppDynamics. In addition, VirtualWisdom can now auto-discover key applications and map the topology from application to infrastructure.

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