Diogenes delivers SRM alternative

By Dave Simpson

—"Traditional SRM hasn't taken off particularly well because it's difficult to implement, complicated, and costly—in many cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars—and there's a long learning curve," says Phil Goodwin, president of Diogenes Analytical Labs. To address those issues, Diogenes this week launched its Storage Satellite service, which provides some of the basic functionality available with traditional storage resource management (SRM) software, but with a twist: It's a subscription service rather than licensed software, which can virtually eliminate front-end costs as well as annual maintenance fees. Subscription pricing starts at less than $200 per month per controller. (Pricing is on a per-controller, as opposed to per-terabyte, basis and depends on array type.)

Storage Satellite is a Web-based storage monitoring and reporting service that uses the Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S) standard (including vendors' SMI-S "providers" and Diogenes' SMI-S "clients") to gather information about heterogeneous disk arrays. This is in contrast to the proprietary APIs used by most SRM software.

Initially, the Storage Satellite service can be used with disk arrays from EMC, Fujitsu-Siemens, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi Data Systems, Sun, and some models from IBM (the DS6000/8000 series). However, it's important to note that SMI-S providers are only available on newer models of disk arrays.

SRM-style analytics functionality in Storage Satellite includes resource discovery and monitoring, topology mapping, asset utilization reporting, capacity usage/trending, and other functions. Unlike most SRM packages, the service can also deliver disk-array reliability information as well as information pertaining to best practices and SLA compliance.

Users install Diogenes' SMI-S clients at their site, and the clients use SMI-S providers to get the SRM-related data. As vendors' SMI-S providers are updated, Diogenes automatically provides SMI-S client updates.

Another feature of the Storage Satellite service is a "Global Database," which aggregates data from subscribers' sites, enabling them to compare their storage operations to other IT organizations' storage operations.

Daniel Likarish, lead faculty member in the Master of Science Computer Information Technology program at Regis University in Denver, uses Storage Satellite's Global Database feature to compare his storage array to other arrays for analysis purposes. Likarish also uses Storage Satellite to monitor a single Hitachi Data Systems 9585 disk array.

Like most medium-sized universities, Regis University has a small IT staff and a limited budget. "Storage Satellite's subscription model is very attractive," says Likarish. "We don't have the budget for traditional SRM software." (Likarish is also president of the Colorado Front Range Storage Networking Users Group chapter of StorageNetworking.org.)

Although Diogenes will sell the service direct to end users, the service will also be offered through VARs and OEMs.

Storage Satellite was developed in conjunction with the Data Globility Initiative (DGI).

This article was originally published on December 15, 2006