The ABCs of Storage Management
With the volume of data being produced and stored within organizations growing at a rapid rate, managing that data and the hardware that stores it can be a major headache.
Storage Resource Management (SRM) is one of the solutions being pushed by the storage industry to help ease those storage management headaches. However, according to Gartner, the SRM market will mature only when organizations are able to clearly define their end-to-end requirements.
There have been some industry predictions that by 2006, SAN management functions will be embedded as part of storage element managers and SRM tools. In other words, SAN management tools will all but disappear.
Brendan Kinkade, vice president of marketing for Nexsan Technologies, says it is highly likely that in the not too distant future, SAN management will be adopted and implemented through the delivering application or will become embedded as part of the OS.
"SAN management tools won't disappear any more than SRM solutions will disappear," says John Lallier, vice president of technology for FalconStor Software. "The two areas will overlap until they're eventually merged in the user's mind as a single management solution."
Other industry experts say that hardware vendors will continue to improve their element managers and incorporate many of the features and functionality of existing SAN management solutions. Customers, they say, will continue to look for solutions that can take an application perspective of management regardless of whether the underlying hardware is DAS, NAS or SAN.
"SRM tools will begin to blend with system performance, network management and backup reporting solutions so the users can get an overall view of the health and status of the application and the infrastructure that services it," says Ken Barth, CEO of Tek-Tools.
Ram Iver, software manager for Maxxan Systems, says that in the next couple of years, SAN management technology will continue to evolve and be used as the primary tool to manage not only SAN resources but also storage services. "These stand-alone SAN management products will eventually disappear over the long term [4 to 6 years] when their functionality is expected to get absorbed into other network management solutions," he says.
Iver also believes that SANs are in their infancy compared to other forms of networking technology such as LANs, MANs and WANs, and that SANs are evolving from non-intelligent connectivity fabrics to integrating increasing number of storage services. "As a result of this," he says, "during the next two years, SAN management software will still offer the best way to centralize such services delivered from the network."
In addition to network and resource management, these tools will offer management of storage services such as virtualization, replication, mirroring, snapshots, security, compression, traffic analysis, and other services, says Ravi Chalaka, vice president of marketing for Maxxan. "Trying to integrate such services during the evolutionary stage of delivering them from the fabrics will be difficult, especially without industry standards that are broad," he says.