Dutch believes that the factors driving the need for SRM are not new but boil down to three basic IT challenges: managing growth, reducing costs, and meeting application service levels. Dutch believes that to keep instep with exploding data growth, IT organizations must annually add TBs upon TBs of storage infrastructure.
However, she says, while the cost per MB continues to decrease, the total cost of managing (TCM) the storage increases as IT organizations must hire, train, and retain highly skilled personnel. "As a result, IT organizations are re-examining their management strategy and looking for software that enables them to more efficiently manager their storage environment," she says.
The key functionalities of SRM
Infantino believes that the key functionality of an SRM product is to provide all necessary information related to an organization's data storage, so that the organization can take automated, policy-based actions to effectively manage their data.
"The first step in this is to build a knowledge base of the attributes of the data that is spread across multiple operating systems, storage architectures, and geographic locations, and provide both enterprise data summaries and detail data reporting, as desired, to pinpoint where and why inefficiencies are occurring," he says.
Infantino also says that the benefit to the customer from these capabilities is that they can often identify 30 percent or more of their data that does not need to be on production storage, or part of the backup plan, due to being duplicate, stale, non-business related, etc. This, he says, provides an immediate cost savings in terms of disk and backup resources, and going forward, customers can use trending to view where growth is occurring, so they can either take immediate measures to limit it or plan more accurately for their future storage needs.
Dutch says that the key functions of SRM include the discovery of devices, file systems and paths. This, she says, automates inventory/asset management so it is always current and accurate. "Path discovery correlates logical us to physical devices," she says. Another key function, according to Dutch, is physical and logical topology maps. This function, she says, automates topology rendering and visualizes how business applications and lines of business are consuming storage resources.
Another key function of SRM is health monitoring and event management. Dutch says this improves time to recovery following a device failure or degradation. Dutch goes on to point out that application impact analysis is yet another key SRM function because it automatically relates device problems to the impact on the business applications to improve application availability and prioritization of device problem resolution. And she also lists charge back as a key function because she says it enables the IT department to accurately bill for storage resource consumption based on QoS and service levels. And, finally she says that reporting is also a major function of SRM as it improves planning and forecasting activities and eliminates manually maintained spreadsheets.