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How good are you at managing your SAN?

By Alan Earls

In 1995, HighGround Systems, Inc., of Marlborough, Mass., coined the phrase "Storage Resource Management(TM)" to describe the software that would ultimately become its flagship product, trade-named Storage Resource Manager. Meanwhile, storage resource management (SRM) has become a term widely used in the industry. Five years later, HighGround Systems is still a leading player in this fast-growing segment of the storage market.

And no wonder there is such growth: For most organizations, storage is a black hole that is poorly understood and inadequately analyzed. Throw in the added complexity of a storage area network (SAN), and you'll understand why the need to manage and analyze your stored data becomes even more important.

Indeed, recently, HighGround found that as much as 45% of the storage supporting the IT networks of the European businesses it evaluated [using the company's tool] were wasted -- storing duplicate, unused and/or orphaned files. Similarly, Analyst Steve Duplessie, writing recently in his company's Enterprise Storage Report Technical Review, stated "66 % of surveyed users told us their current handle on storage resources was not up to par...only 16% felt they deserved an 'A' rating," while only 11% felt ready to handle more storage growth without improved management tools.

Those telling numbers are propelling the businesses of others SRM players, including EMC, Veritas, Sterling (CA) and BMC. EMC, Veritas, and HighGround, in particular, get kudos from Duplessie's Enterprise Storage Group for having the most up-to-date product sets). HighGround, itself, has been expanding its functionality and recently added a Web-oriented version of its SRM called Surveyor.

The Aberdeen Group, in a recent white paper entitled, "Storage Resource Management: Key to Managing Storage in the 21st Century", adds fuel to the SRM fire by advising, "SRM enables IS to get a handle on unchecked storage growth." Aberdeen goes on to note that without SRM, organizations are more or less guessing about their needs. SRM, they state, can "clean out stale and obsolete data storage."

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