Mirror, Mirror Softek Storage Provisioner 2.1s impressive mirroring capabilities allowed us to mirror data between heterogeneous storage systems. This is an extremely powerful tool, which, in addition to the obvious benefit of adding fault tolerance to a system, can be used to migrate data from older storage systems to newer ones. FalconStor Software Inc.s latest IPStor SRM system, which we will be testing at a later date, will have mirroring capabilities as well.In addition to mirroring capabilities, Softek Storage Provisioner 2.1 also offers a snapshot option. At $10,000 for each provisioning server, this isnt a trivial add-on, but it was handy in tests.Using the snapshot option, we could easily create static point-in-time copies of our volumes, as opposed to mirrored sets, which constantly update the data on the source and the target. Because snapshots are static, they are useful for backing up mission-critical applications. To back up mission-critical data without disrupting the application, an IT manager would simply take a snapshot of the data set and then use the snapshot to feed data to a backup solution, instead of bringing down the application server and backing it up. Currently, Softek Storage Provisioner 2.1 doesnt provide any performance analysis, although Fujitsu plans to release a performance tuner add-on in the future. (No price or release date has been set.) We should point out that no other SRM package that weve seen offers performance analysis, either. This will be an important feature in any effective storage automation system. The application performance of servers can suffer greatly when the wrong type of storage is assigned, and a fair amount of money can be wasted when expensive storage resources are allocated to noncritical applications. Senior Analyst Henry Baltazar can be reached at henry_ email@example.com.