In Softek Storage Manager 2.5, Fujitsu Software Technology Corp. adds performance-monitoring capabilities to its stalwart enterprise-class storage resource management suite. For this release, Softek has introduced Performance Tuner, an optional plug-in for the Softek Storage Manager 2.5 interface that tracks server, storage and SAN (storage area network) performance.Softek Storage Manager 2.5 and the Performance Tuner add-on were announced last month. Softek Storage Manager 2.5 has a starting price of $24,995, and the Performance Tuner plug-in can be added for $3,995.In terms of interoperability, Storage Manager 2.5 covers Windows, Linux, Unix, NetWare and mainframe environments. Performance Tuner currently works only on Unix and Windows systems, with support for Linux coming in the near future, according to Softek officials. In eWEEK Labs tests, Performance Tuner did a good job of monitoring performance and analyzing problems. Although it does not proactively eliminate storage performance problems, none of its competitors has this ability either. Performance Tuner uses the standard agent software that is installed when implementing Softek Storage Manager 2.5, so adding it to the management platform does not create additional implementation headaches. The Softek agent gathers information based on more than 200 metrics, and we used these metrics to quickly find problem areas in the test networks. Performance Tuner can be used to spot trends in performance that occur throughout the day or during a few weeks. A correlation coefficient is calculated automatically when two metrics are plotted on a single graph, and this allowed us to see if the two metrics were strongly interrelated. Softek Storage Manager 2.5s useful trending capability allowed us to see peculiarities (such as data spikes) and figure out where our performance bottlenecks were located. Although Performance Tuner gave us a large amount of information to work with, it wont eliminate the need for skilled storage managers to make sense of the data. Even if a problem is isolated to a particular server or storage system, an IT manager must still sift through data to determine what steps need to be taken to eliminate the problem. For example, if Performance Tuner finds that an InterSwitch Link is getting maxed out, it can alert an IT manager to the problem, but it cant take action (for example, adding an ISL to compensate for the load). IT managers looking for automated server provisioning should consider a solution such as Veritas Software Corp.s OpForce. Because most IT managers are very familiar with the configurations in their SANs, we dont think its currently necessary for Performance Tuner to have automated management capabilities. However, as SANs grow larger and more complex during the next few years, automated management will become increasingly necessary. Softek Storage Manager 2.5 supports the open-source Apache Web server, providing an alternative for IT managers who are hesitant about using Microsoft Corp.s IIS (Internet Information Services) to run a Web-based management interface. The database also has been improved, allowing the scalability to monitor more than 500 million files if necessary. This is important for high- transaction environments, and few competing SRM products are capable of scanning that number of files. Senior Analyst Henry Baltazar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out eWEEK.coms Storage Center at http://storage.eweek.com for the latest news, reviews and analysis on enterprise and business storage hardware and software.