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Computer Associates released BrightStor version 11.1 last month, touting it as a new generation of intelligent storage management. According to Mark Barrenechea, CA's executive vice president of product development, the basic idea is to enable enterprises to safeguard corporate data more cost efficiently than before. To his mind, it offers better business value than Veritas and EMC.
"BrightStor 11.1 streamlines storage operations and allows them to be driven by sound business logic," he said.
The software was just subjected to a significant test during the recent series of hurricanes. The U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing, headquartered at Patrick Air Force Base (AFB), has been using BrightStor 11.1 for its mission at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Patrick AFB's storage infrastructure supports space launches and manages the Eastern Range — a 15 million square-mile area of the Eastern Seaboard and the Atlantic Ocean that encompasses more than 4,000 military and civilian employees.
To safeguard itself in Hurricane Alley, it uses BrightStor SAN Manager and Unicenter Network and Systems Management to manage is massive SAN environment. During Hurricane Frances, for example, the 45th Space Wind shifted its storage operations to a backup site and took down its SAN as a precaution.
"We take disaster recovery planning and testing very seriously," said Glenn Exline, manager of advanced technologies at the 45th Space Wing. "After the hurricane passed, we quickly verified the health of our entire storage environment by running a before-and-after report that enabled us to identify and address only the trouble spots."
Exline is now in the midst of a rollout of BrightStor 11.1 in order to improve the management of 35 terabytes of data at seven data stores using the same six-person staff that managed a six-terabyte shop a year ago.
The various modules and functions of BrightStor have been more tightly integrated and it now supports more than 100 storage arrays, tape libraries, SAN switches, servers and applications. This will reduce screen hopping by storage administrators and simplify the management of a storage infrastructure.
For example, a common view is offered for full path visualization and critical path analysis. It functions across distributed and mainframe platforms via integration with three elements of the BrightStor package — BrightStor SRM, BrightStor SAN Manager and BrightStor CA-Vantage SRM. This also removes some of the tedium normally associated with storage management.
Case in point: the Idaho State Controller's Office. Before installing BrightStor solutions, employees manually collected data on each server and hard drive to monitor how much space was used. The Controller's Office has now automated these processes using BrightStor SRM. This has saved employee hours and extended the life of servers.
"BrightStor 11.1 provides critical data that allows us to calculate departmental usage of storage infrastructure — which we can then potentially use for chargebacks," said Nick Aldinger, information systems technician at the Idaho State Controller's Office.
Recent collaboration between CA and the likes of EMC, HP, HDS, IBM, NetApp and Sun has also borne fruit. The newest iteration of BrightStor products permit the use of a far wider range of hardware while consolidating everything into one integrated enterprise view of a storage environment. That shows up, too in backup products like BrightStor ARCserve Backup, which has improved multiplatform management capabilities. It supports such databases and applications as Advantage Ingres, DB2, Exchange, SQL Server, Oracle, PeopleSoft, SAP and Sybase.
The newest edition to the storage suite is BrightStor Process Automation Manager. It automates routine storage tasks and eliminates some elements of manual maintenance.
New Licensing Model Attracts Customers
As many of the CA products have either grown up independently or were originally acquired from other companies, they have not always integrated well. CA has been addressing this issue over the last few years with its common services initiative. BrightStor r11.1 takes this a step further with enhanced integration with widely used CA Unicenter network management and eTrust security management products.
Further, to heighten the allure of BrightStor, CA is offering an alternative to its usual FlexSelect licensing program with BrightStor Managed Capacity Pricing. The idea is to simplify the licensing process by basing it upon terabyte capacity rather than server and/or application licenses.
Another customer taking advantage of these new features is French Global 100 giant Saint-Gobain Crystals, a subsidiary of Compagnie de Saint-Gobain. It has to backup a massive amount of data each day that resides across thousands of machines and countless operating systems.
"CA's BrightStor r11.1 enables us to successfully meet this formidable challenge," said Mohamad Alkazaz, IT and telecommunications manager at Saint-Gobain Crystals. "It allows us to minimize business risk while optimizing the total business value returned by our investments in storage infrastructure."
Article courtesy of Enterprise IT Planet