SRM Takes Software Center Stage

Softek and CA offer software packages to help manage storage proliferation

September 14, 2004

3 Min Read
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It could be a coincidence, but on the same day IDC's quarterly software tracker numbers showed storage resource management (SRM) is now the largest segment of the storage software market, Softek Storage Solutions Inc. and Computer Associates International Inc. (CA) (NYSE: CA) both updated their SRM suites. (See Management Musings, IDC: SRM, EMC Software Grows , and CA Unveils BrightStor Upgrade.)

One of the biggest issues for storage administrators is there aren’t enough people to do that job and budgets aren’t growing,” says Bill North, IDC’s storage software research director. “Administrators are told, ‘In two years you’ll have to manage twice as much storage with the same amount of people.’ That means you have to have better software with automated capabilities.”

Softek and CA are trumpeting automation capabilities that improve their SRM suites -- named Enterprise SRM and BrightStor, respectively. Both added new pieces to each series and updated the rest. But the suppliers differ in their approaches when it comes to allowing customers to assign resources on storage devices.

Softek’s new piece is its Performance Tuner, a tool that helps administrators monitor and diagnose performance of their storage networks and predicts potential trouble spots. It works by establishing normal usage levels of storage devices, then sending alerts when a device is overloaded, along with reports on how to resolve the problem.

Softek also added native support for all devices that comply with SMI-S in its SANView 2.5 application, and support for Linux on z-Series servers in Storage Manager 2.5. The Softek SRM suite is available immediately. Pricing begins at $3,995 for Performance Tuner, $24,995 for Softek Storage Manager 2.5, and $12,595 for SANView Manager.One thing you won’t see in Softek’s SRM suite is provisioning. Softek had a provisioning tool in previous releases, but senior director of product management Truls Myklebust! says customers were reluctant to use it. “It’s on hold right now,” Myklebust says. “We didn’t see a market for it. Customers had concerns about making changes to their hardware environment.”

Computer Associates apparently disagrees. CA includes automatic provisioning in its new Process Automation Manager. Process Automation Manager lets administrators use templates to provision storage. CA has also improved integration between BrightStor and its backup software. BrightStor products will be available by the end of September. CA did not provide price ranges.

It will be interesting to see if CA and others have success with provisioning. While customers would no doubt like an effective provisioning tool -- “It takes people away from the giant whiteboard with device names on it,” North says -- early attempts at provisioning applications weren’t always easy to use.

AppIQ Inc. promised an easier way to provision when it joined the game earlier this year, and other SRM vendors such as Veritas Software Corp. (Nasdaq: VRTS), CreekPath Systems Inc., and Storability Inc., have provisioning tools. SAN vendors such as EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) also offer it in their management software (see AppIQ Tackles Provisioning).

— Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch0

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