IBM App Geared for High End

 
 
By Henry Baltazar  |  Posted 2003-06-30 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Cost, coverage might keep TSRM out of smaller shops.

Storage resource management software is one of the most useful tools for visualizing and trending storage resources. And IBMs Tivoli Storage Resource Manager Version 1.1 is one of the most powerful SRM packages we have seen to date.

TSRM 1.1, which shipped last month, not only provides coverage for a wide range of platforms—including NetWare, Windows 2000, AIX, HP-UX, Solaris and Linux—it also boasts analysis tools to keep track of databases.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Tivoli Storage Resource Manager 1.1
IBM’s Tivoli Storage Resource Manager brings more power and flexibility to the SRM market. With the ability to work with many network operating systems and with databases, TSRM 1.1 is a solid enterprise-class SRM solution, although it might be overkill for smaller sites. More information is available at www-3.ibm.com/software/tivoli.
KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS
USABILITY GOOD
CAPABILITY EXCELLENT
PERFORMANCE GOOD
INTEROPERABILITY EXCELLENT
MANAGEABILITY EXCELLENT
SCALABILITY GOOD
SECURITY GOOD
  • PRO: Extensive interoperability; high-end reporting and database analysis capabilities.

  • CON: Costs could add up because of processor license fees.

  • EVALUATION SHORT LIST
    Veritas Software Corp.s Precise StorageCentral SRM
    However, TSRM 1.1s power doesnt come cheap. Because licensing is sold on a per-processor basis, costs can get high fast. The base price runs $700 per processor, to which enterprises must add $500 per processor for the database agent. With licensing this expensive, it would be cost-prohibitive to run agents for low-end single- and dual-processor servers. All license prices include one year of support for maintenance and upgrades.

    TSRM 1.1 is therefore best suited for large, heterogeneous environments and would probably be overkill for smaller shops where one or two operating systems predominate. In addition, Windows-heavy shops would probably be better off using a simpler solution such as Precise StorageCentral SRM (now owned by Veritas Software Corp.), which is a lot easier to learn and set up.

    In eWEEK Labs tests, getting TSRM 1.1 up and running proved fairly intensive, requiring us to first set up a SQL database (we used DB2 in our test). There are major benefits to using a database approach, however: Its scalable and can store a large amount of data, and the ability to analyze databases is a powerful capability that should be extremely useful to many larger enterprises.

    The reporting and monitoring tools in TSRM 1.1 are extensive, but it took a significant amount of time and work for us to get a handle on all the available tools. It was worth the effort, however, especially for the interesting report options, which located stale files and helped us hunt down those who were using too much storage space.

    TSRM 1.1s trending features are another of its strong suits. These features helped us see the rate at which servers and databases were growing (see screen).

    We used TSRM 1.1s optional Chargeback capability to create invoices to send to storage consumers, to help users see the costs of their storage usage. The Chargeback functionality costs an additional $300 per processor.

    TSRM 1.1s Constraints feature allowed us to query against file systems to look for specific file types. Using the Constraints feature, we searched for MP3, AVI and other media files, which might not be authorized for storage on corporate storage systems. It also enabled us to discover what type of files were being stored, how many there were and how much storage space was consumed.

    TSRM 1.1s basic asset management functionality allowed us to find important facts such as processor information, remaining disk capacity and storage controller information for every computer on our network.

    In addition, we could find information about the operating systems of each of the servers on the network, including revision history and service patch levels.

    If TSRM 1.1 gets more powerful in the future—and we expect it will, through the evolution of storage standards and integration with provisioning tools—storage automation will be possible. With automation, TSRM will be able to eliminate unwanted files and extend file systems when needed.

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

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

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