Roll-your-own management code

The most recent end-user survey from TheInfoPro (TIP) research firm as usual included a number of surprises. For one, information lifecycle management (ILM) is now the priority among storage managers (see senior editor Kevin Komiega’s article on the cover). And ILM-related technologies, including tiered storage, policy-based archiving, data migration/mobility tools, and hierarchical storage management (HSM), are also high on the “to-do” list.

Why the surprise? Because many of us have been viewing ILM as an over-hyped pipe dream propagated by vendors with vested interests in selling more hardware. But based on the TIP survey, ILM is rapidly becoming reality-at least at Fortune 1000 firms.

Another survey finding that continues to amaze me is how many companies are still using homegrown code for storage management. For example, when asked which vendors they were using or considering using for storage management, EMC topped the list, but homegrown software came in a startling second (see figure).

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Once again, it’s important to note that the TIP survey results are reflective only of very large enterprises, not of small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Nevertheless…

When end users were asked to cite their current ILM vendor of choice, homegrown code again ranked second only to EMC (followed by IBM/Tivoli and Symantec/Veritas). In fact, in virtually every storage management technology tracked by TheInfoPro, homegrown software ranked in the top-five “vendors.” That includes technologies such as policy-based archiving, e-mail management and archiving, data migration/mobility, tiered storage, data classification/categorization (homegrown=number one), capacity planning/forecasting (again, number one), HSM, and provisioning.

But of all these findings, perhaps the oddest comes in the area of compliance with the SMI-S management standard. Here’s the ranking of current SMI-S-compliant vendors, according to the TIP survey: EMC, Hitachi Data Systems, AppIQ/HP, IBM and, you guessed it, homegrown. These Fortune 1000 storage managers are a plucky group, indeed, if they would rather write their own SMI-S management apps than buy software that’s already compliant-at no extra charge.

On the other hand, virtually none of the TIP survey respondents have homegrown code in their future plans for any of the management technologies, indicating that end users may be on the verge of a spending spree for storage management software.

In this issue…

We have two Special Reports on backup and recovery in this issue. The first presents the results of an InfoStor reader survey on backup/recovery trends (which included plenty of SMBs). The second report drills into what the Taneja Group consulting firm called data protection management (DPM) software tools. This product category used to be called backup monitoring/reporting, but the functionality has gone way beyond those roots so a new acronym may be in order.

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Dave Simpson

This article was originally published on December 01, 2005