By Henry Baltazar  |  Posted 2004-08-23 Print this article Print

CaminoSoft Corp.s Managed Server HSM 5.1 is a useful migration tool for moving stale data off servers and onto less expensive storage tiers.

With the wave of complex ILM (information lifecycle management) technology rushing through the enterprise space, products such as Managed Server HSM 5.1 bring automated storage migration capabilities to small and midsize businesses. However, Managed Server HSM 5.1 supports only Windows and NetWare, so Linux and Unix shops will have to look elsewhere for a suitable hierarchical storage management solution.

Is it time for personal HSM? Click here to find out what eWEEK Labs Henry Baltazar thinks.
Managed Server HSM 5.1, which began shipping earlier this month, is priced at $2,499 per managed server. CaminoSoft also makes available, for $8,995, Managed Server HSM Centera Edition (for shops using EMC Corp.s Centera); and Library Edition, which includes support for stand-alone tape and optical drives and libraries.

Like any other HSM product, Managed Server HSM 5.1 trims the data volumes residing on servers, making them leaner and more efficient. And with the advent of inexpensive ATA-based RAID arrays, IT managers now have inexpensive storage targets to which this stale data can be moved.

With slimmer data volumes, server storage resources can be optimized for performance instead of for capacity, allowing IT managers to move to higher-performance RAID sets such as RAID 10.

Another advantage to having slimmer volumes is that it will make backups (full backups, in particular) much quicker because stale files wont have to be recorded to tape.

Managed Server HSM 5.1 is designed for file migrations only, which makes it suitable for NAS (network-attached storage) and file servers but not for mail servers or databases. (Veritas Software Corp.s competing Data Lifecycle Manager has an Exchange agent available for e-mail migration.)

During eWEEK Labs tests, Managed Server HSM 5.1 was easy to set up. We installed the Managed Server service on each of our two servers and could administer the systems using the separate management GUI.

We quickly created and implemented data migration policies using the GUI: We simply chose the volumes to migrate and the target to which the volumes should be sent. The GUI allowed us to exclude specific file types to ensure that .exe files and other program-dependent files were not moved.

Using the scheduling feature, we could ensure data wasnt moved during peak work hours, when network congestion could cause problems for users and applications. We also were able to set capacity thresholds (in terms of percentage of storage capacity used) to decide when file migration actions should automatically start.

Managed Server HSM 5.1 allowed us to create deletion policies that would, for example, automate the deletion of MP3 and other media files we didnt want stored on our test servers.

The CaminoSoft product has some basic monitoring capabilities, but we wish it had stronger reporting tools for tracking migration trends. Reporting would be useful for calculating storage savings over a period of time, which would make ROI (return-on-investment) justification much easier for IT managers.

After a file migration has occurred, a file pointer is left in the same spot as the original file. When a user clicks on the file pointer, he or she is seamlessly granted access to the file, even though the user might have no idea where the original file is located.

Senior Analyst Henry Baltazar can be reached at henry_baltazar@ziffdavis.com.

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