Best Storage Management Software

Storage management software is a critical component of the IT landscape, providing tools and services that help organizations to deploy, manage and optimize data storage assets.

As data usage overall continues to grow, so too has demand for storage. Often an organization will simply provision a new storage appliance as a way to add more capacity to handle data demands. It’s a situation that can sometimes lead to storage sprawl, where there are disparate pools of storage that are not properly monitored or managed.

While provisioning for capacity is important so too is the need to manage all the virtual and physical storage appliances in use, to make sure that storage is being used effectively. Storage management software can also help with capacity management, alerting administrator when more physical or virtual resources are needed as existing resources near exhaustion.

How to Select the Best Storage Management Software

When considering what storage management software is appropriate there are several key issues that an organization should consider.

Hardware affinity. Some vendors developers storage management software that is specific for a certain brand of type of hardware. Be sure to consider multi-vendor options for environments that use storage from more than a single vendor.

Virtualization visibility. More often then not physical storage is used to enable virtualized infrastructure and applications. Identify what virtualization infrastructure software the organization is using and make sure that the storage management supports it.

Discovery and Onboarding. For some use cases, an administrator might not be aware of all the storage devices in an environment. As such, having some form of discovery capability to help identify storage assets so they can be managed is a critical feature.

Connectivity standards. Some solutions use software agents, while others make use of standards such as REST APIs or the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S) standard to monitor and manage storage. Make sure the devices the organization needs to manage can in fact be managed via a supported connectivity standard.

Top Storage Management Software

In this Enterprise Storage Forum top companies list, we spotlight the top storage management solutions.

Dell EMC Storage Resource Manager (SRM)Dell EMC

Value proposition for potential buyers: Dell EMC Storage Resource Manager (SRM) provides organizations with the ability to optimize storage across both physical and virtual resources from multiple vendors.

Key values/differentiators

  • A key differentiator for Dell EMC SRM is the financial reporting aspect that enables administrators to better understand cost with reporting to align with service chargeback.
  • Visualization of storage deployments is another strong attribute for Dell EMC SRM, providing users with the ability to easily see heterogeneous storage environments.
  • SRM tracks capacity, performance and storage configuration, that help to build reports and proactive alerts.
  • For optimization, a key feature of SRM is the historical workload display which can help an administrator to understand usage and best placement for storage.

IBM Spectrum ControlIBM

Value proposition for potential buyers: IBM Spectrum Control is an obvious choice for those running IBM storage arrays as it provides enhanced functionality specifically for IBM hardware. Spectrum Control can also manage and monitor multi-vendor storage on-premises enabling an administrator to have a full view of a storage environment.

Key values/differentiators

  • A key differentiator for IBM Spectrum controls is the role based visualization for storage which can provide SAN (Storage Area Network), department and application view of storage deployment and utilization.
  • Another key feature that Spectrum Control provides is a load balancing capability that enables an organization to balance storage based on performance and capacity within a storage tier.
  • Enables management of file, object, block, server-based and software-defined storage.
  • Provides visibility into utilization and key performance metrics including cache utilization and I/O rates.

ManageEngine OpManagerManageEngine

Value proposition for potential buyers: In recent years, ManageEngine has transitioned away from its OpStor storage management technology to its OpManager, which provides storage management as part of a broader suite of operations management.

Key values/differentiators

  • A key differentiator for OpManager is that it is a holistic operations manager for infrastructure the can help organizations manage storage, alongside servers and other IT assets.
  • OpManager integrates on-premises networking storage monitoring that enables administrates to get insight into storage performance and utilization.
  • For monitored storage devices including storage arrays and Fiber channel storage switches, OpManager can alert on potential issues that could lead to downtime or storage failures.
  • Provides the ability to discover storage arrays on a network so they can be monitored.

NetAPPnetapp

Value proposition for potential buyers: NetApp is a leading storage provider and has a number of different tools that can help organizations with storage management. OnCommand Insight enables users to manager and monitor storage and other IT assets from multiple vendors while ONTAP can be used to manage NetApp hardware and create a data fabric that extends to the cloud.

Key values/differentiators

  • A key differentiator for NetApp is the deep level of integration it provides with its own storage hardware.
  • OnCommand Insight Enables multivendor storage resource management.
  • Proactive alerting in OnCommand Insight makes use of advanced analytics to help identify potential issues.
  • Visibility into storage data from physical devices as well as virtual machines.

Quest Foglight for Storage Managementquest

Value proposition for potential buyers: Foglight for Storage Management is a good option for organizations looking to optimize and monitor physical storage assets that are used with virtual machines.

Key values/differentiators

  • A key differentiator for Quest’s Foglight for Storage Management is its focus on virtualization which can enable users to understand how physical storage hardware supports and impacts logical datastores.
  • Among the key features of Foglight for Storage Management is the ability to determine and identify performance issues related to physical storage.
  • Storage capacity monitoring across heterogeneous storage environments is another core capability.
  • Storage optimization is further enabled with actionable insights that the platform provides that can be used to help reduce storage costs.

Solarwinds Storage Resource Monitor (SRM)solarwinds

Value proposition for potential buyers: Solarwinds Storage Resource Monitor (SRM) is a great option for organizations that need to manage on-premises storage resources. It’s an obvious fit for those that have already bought into the Solarwinds portfolio for application monitoring providing full visibility into an application delivery stack.

Key values/differentiators

  • A key differentiator for Solarwinds is its integration with other components of the company’s portfolio including SolarWinds Virtualization Manager (VMAN) and Server and Application Monitor (SAM).
  • Solarwinds SRM has multi-vendor storage device support for capacity and performance monitoring.
  • Enables automated storage capacity planning to help administrators determine the most efficient use of storage assets.
  • User interface dashboard provides easy visibility to help administrators identify different areas of risk, including performance and capacity issues.

Vendor Comparison Chart

Features

Key Differentiator

Dell EMC Storage Resource Manager

  • Visualization of multi-vendor storage deployments.
  • Historical views of capacity and performance.
  • Proactive alerting for issues.

Cost reporting that can help to enable service chargeback.

IBM Spectrum Control

  • Load balancing for storage capacity.
  • Reporting on key performance metrics.
  • Management of heterogenous storage environments.

Role based visualization for different departments and applications.

ManageEngine OpManager

  • Insight into storage performance and utilization.
  • Storage discovery to identify devices in a network.
  • Alerting for potential issues.

Full view of operations including storage.

NetApp OnCommand

  • Multi-vendor storage resource management.
  • Visibility into both physical and virtual storage.
  • Analytics power proactive alerting and reports.

Deep integration with NetApp storage arrays.

Quest Foglight for Storage Management

  • Storage capacity monitoring.
  • Optimization for virtualization.
  • Identification of potential performance issues.

Specifically focused on enabling storage for virtual machines.

Solarwinds Storage Resource Monitor

  • Intuitive user interface for multi-vendor storage management.
  • Automated storage capacity planning.
  • Performance issue identification.

Integration with broader Solarwinds infrastructure management portfolio.

Sean Michael Kerner
Sean Michael Kerner
Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.

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