By Dave Simpson
Cash-strapped IT departments are increasingly realizing that, although storage resource management (SRM) software can be expensive, it can also decrease overall hardware and management costs. As a result of increased awareness of the benefits of SRM--as well as projections of a market that could exceed $4 billion by 2006--the SRM space has become not only crowded, but also fiercely competitive.
Most SRM software products provide a variety of functions, including storage usage reporting, performance reporting, chargeback, policy-based automation, and quota management. And the dominant trend is toward "active SRM" (as opposed to passive reporting tools) based on automated policies.
One of the more recent announcements in the SRM market came from Fujitsu Softek, which plans to release the 2.1 version of its Softek Storage Manager SRM software next month.
Starting at $39,000, the 2.1 version adds a number of new features, including the following:
--Support for Linux, Oracle, and SQL databases, and IBM/Tivoli TSM and Veritas NetBackup applications. (The previous version of Storage Manager supported only Legato Networker for backup/recovery.);
--User-defined storage resources, which allows administrators to define storage requirements for specific applications, and have storage automatically provisioned from a storage pool to match application requirements;
--Policy-based script execution that supports commands launched through a command line interface or user script; and
--Chargeback reporting based on user-defined costs associated to pre-defined criteria. Reports can be generated within the software or can be exported directly into billing systems.
In addition, Fujitsu Softek launched Storage Provisioner 2.1 software, which automatically assigns and allocates disk storage space to applications when needed. Potential benefits include increased data availability and uptime (due to an elimination of "out-of-space" conditions), better use of storage capacity, and simpler storage area network (SAN) management. Storage Provisioner is integrated with Storage Manager 2.1.
Both of Softek's new products are integrated into the company's suite of storage management tools, which includes functions such as backup/restore, disaster recovery, storage virtualization, replication, SAN administration, and media management.