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In other situations, such as on file servers, agents are more common, he continued. "The key feature set that customers should investigate is an architecture that supports both. Customers will want to ensure that agents have a low impact on CPU resources, are schedule-driven, and can execute multiple capabilities," he says.
Infantino also says that having multiple levels of access control is critical. "An enterprise SRM product will inevitably be used by a range of people, including different groups of administrators (mail, database, different operating systems), their managers, and even business users (CFO, business unit heads, etc.) who may be interested in charge-back or capacity planning issues," he says. "What is most important, though, is that any logical or physical SRM product customers evaluate have both an API and a CLI, so that it can leverage functionality from other storage management applications that it does not offer natively," Infantino says. "In today's market, SRM vendors typically provide either logical or physical SRM feature sets with very little overlap; therefore, it's crucial to make sure that any products you implement will be able to interoperate with one another."
Treide believes that customers should look at the SRM product strategy from the perspective of the end user's needs and requirements, and not on what is the "latest and greatest" technology. "As all storage environments are different down to the last details, it is crucial that end users look at the tools that best fit the problems at hand, while keeping the overall scheme of things in mind. This will allow them to best evaluate how SRM solutions play with all the other components in the various facets of storage management in order to determine how SRM can help to alleviate storage problems," he says.
One storage analyst stated that when it came to SRM, customers weren't the problem -- the problem is with the SRM vendors who he felt had not done a very good job of defining the term in the first place. "Any time 60% of customers aren't familiar with a certain kind of software, some responsibility certainly lies with the vendors," Infantino says. "Vendors need to do a much better job of using actual customer examples to demonstrate how adopting active SRM solutions now can result in huge cost savings down the road, through avoiding unplanned downtime, last-minute scrambles to add new storage, and wasted staff time."
Dutch says that given that capabilities between SRM products and classic SRM to Storage Area Management (SAM), she would recommend that customers first define what problems they are trying to solve. "If the problem is finding out how used files or MP3 files got on the server in the first place, I would suggest a classic SRM solution," she says. "If the customer has a rapidly growing SAN environment and wants to automate the storage operations associated with managing and reporting on the SAN, I would suggest a SAM product."
The bottom line when it comes to SRM, concluded Treide, is for end users to complete the necessary due diligence in order to discern the benefits of SRM to their organization. This will ensure that only the solutions that fully meet their needs, have the viability to continue to do so in the future, and provide tangible business value are considered for implementation in their organization.