By Dave Simpson
Cash-strapped IT departments are increasingly realizing that, although storage resource management (SRM) software can be expensive, it can also significantly decrease overall hardware costs and ongoing storage management costs. As a result of increased awareness of the benefits of SRM, the market has become not only crowded, but also fiercely competitive.
Analysts expect the SRM market to grow at a 22%-per-year clip over the next few years, and they predict that the market for SRM software will exceed $4 billion in 2006.
Most SRM software products provide a variety of functions, which can include capacity/resource usage reporting, capacity planning, automated provisioning, performance reporting, chargeback, policy-based automation, asset management, and quota management. And the dominant trend is toward "active SRM" (as opposed to passive reporting tools) based on automated policies.
This month, Fujitsu Softek began shipments of the second generation (version 2.1) of its Softek Storage Manager SRM software. Priced from $39,000, the 2.1 version provides active SRM and adds a number of new features, including the following:
- Support for Linux (on Intel architectures), Oracle and SQL databases, and IBM/Tivoli TSM and Veritas NetBackup applications. (The previous version of Storage Manager supported only Legato Networker for backup and 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.
- Remote policy-based script execution that supports commands launched through a command line interface or user scripts.
- 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 to Softek, representative SRM vendors include the following: BMC (mainframe only), Computer Associates, CreekPath, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, IBM (via its acquisition of TrelliSoft), InterSAN, McData, Netreon, Northern Parklife, NTP Software, NuView, Overland Storage (which resells Astrum software), Storability, StorageNetworks, Tek-Tools, TeraCloud, and Veritas (via its acquisition of Precise Software).
Also this month, Fujitsu Softek launched its Storage Provisioner 2.1 software, which automatically assigns and allocates disk storage space to applications when needed. Potential benefits of the auto-provisioning software 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, which is priced from $50,000, is integrated with Storage Manager 2.1.
Storage Provisioner also includes point-in-time replication, synchronous mirroring (up to 10km), and semi-synchronous mirroring (up to 8,000km).
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.
The company is expected to continue its onslaught of product introductions over the next few months with new versions of its TDMF replication software and SANView SAN administration software.