By Heidi Biggar
Fujitsu Softek, which entered the storage management software market less than a year ago, recently announced that it has expanded its OEM relationship with DataCore Software. In addition, Fujitsu Softek released storage resource management software-Fujitsu Softek Storage Manager-that not only generates and analyzes storage usage patterns across the network, but also centralizes and automates tasks across the enterprise.
It is these policy-setting capabilities, analysts say, that may give Fujitsu Softek an initial leg up on competitors such as Computer Associates and Veritas, among others. "The big story here isn't just that they have an SRM tool, but that they are 'tying it all together' with policy," says Nancy Marrone, a senior analyst with the Enterprise Storage Group, a storage consulting firm in Milford, MA. "There are a lot of vendors talking about this, but few are actually doing it."
"Storage Manager allows you not only to see what you have, which is the first step in being able to manage what you have, but it also gives you the ability to automate mundane tasks such as archiving, capacity usage, etc.," says Erich Flynn, vice president of worldwide marketing at Fujitsu Softek.
From the Storage Manager console, system administrators can set up storage policies for any servers, or groups of servers, on which a Storage Manager agent has been installed. The console then saves those policies onto a Storage Manager Server. The agents send encrypted data to the server, which first analyzes and compares the data to established policies for managed servers and then automatically triggers necessary actions (e.g., to archive old files or provision additional capacity from the virtual storage pool).
In the case of adding capacity from the virtual pool, the Storage Manager Server sends a message to the virtualization server to provision more storage up to the server in question. All actions are automatic and are done without system administration involvement.
In this way, Storage Manager serves as the "glue" between the various software layers: data protection/management, SRM, virtualization, and storage network management (see figure). Fujitsu has already integrated the software with its virtualization software and with certain backup applications and says more integration is under development.
"All our products work well on their own, but when you marry them with Storage Manager, the sum is greater than the parts," says Flynn.
A key step in that direction was Fujitsu's decision last month to expand its OEM relationship with DataCore Software. The two companies have entered into a licensing agreement that gives Fujitsu access to the source and binary code of DataCore's core virtualization technology.
"Virtualization is an important core infrastructure," says Steven F.X. Murphy, Fujitsu Softek's president and CEO, "because it enables you to centrally manage various functions [e.g., provisioning, mirroring, and business continuance], increase disk utilization, simplify management, and lower total storage costs."
Murphy says the decision to license code from DataCore is consistent with Fujitsu Softek's goal of owning all the necessary intellectual property to bring a comprehensive set of storage management products to market. The company will reportedly develop its storage management road map around the acquired code.
"It's a good deal for Fujitsu," says Enterprise Storage Group's Marrone. "The company has the resources to really expand on the source code to provide more capability and to integrate it with their existing software modules."