Managing Storage Softek Storage Manager is an SRM (storage resource management) product, and for all intents and purposes, it will be the tool that IT managers find most useful for attacking the daily grind.However, Softek Storage Manager stands out in its ability to manage a wide variety of servers. Other tools, including those from Precise Software, are Windows-centric. In tests, we found that Softek Storage Manager, available now and priced at $25,000 (agents for managed servers start at $300 per server), is fairly easy to install and deploy. Softek Storage Manager requires a database to serve as a data repository, and, in our tests, we used Microsoft Corp.s SQL Server. Agent software must be deployed to get information from clients. The installation process was easy, but it was a bit tedious because every server had to be touched. Using Softek Storage Managers management GUI, we could easily search our storage systems for potentially illegal content (such as MP3 files), and we could find out which users and groups were using the most resourcesan important tool for accounting. Virtualization Softek Virtualization is also available now. Network Edition licenses start at just under $25,000 per storage domain server, and the product melds the core technology of SANSymphony with a Softek-designed GUI. Softek Virtualization is an in-band management solution that sits between storage units and servers and eliminates the need to implement intricate zoning and logical unit number masking to provision storage resources. Since this is a software solution, IT managers can scale up performance by improving hardware (adding CPUs, host bus adapters or memory). In tests, we were impressed with Softek Virtualizations ease of use, which allowed us to easily provision space for our servers. Future releases of Softek Virtualization will be tied in with Softek Storage Manager so that when Softek Storage Manager detects a server that is low on space, it will automatically trigger Softek Virtualization to give that server more storage capacity. Softek Virtualization worked fairly well in our tests with the companys backup solution, Softek Backup NetWorker Edition (an OEM of Legato Systems Inc.). Using Softek Virtualizations snapshot technology (to make point-in-time copies of a volume) it was possible to run backups without bringing down an active volume. SAN Management Softek SANView 4.1, which starts at $12,595, will be familiar to IT managers who have used Vixels products in the past because it is based on the SAN management tools that Vixel bundled with its Fibre Channel switches. SANView automatically detects host bus adapters and Fibre Alliance Management Information Base-compliant switches, hubs, routers, bridges, disks and arrays when it is installed. Using SANView, we could easily see the devices in our network, and it was simple to note each devices management tools. SANView also alerted us to hardware issues (such as failed power supplies) and allowed us to monitor the bandwidth utilization of each device. Senior Analyst Henry Baltazar is at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like other SRM products we have seen from vendors such as W. Quinn Associates Inc. (now Precise Software Solutions Inc.), Softek Storage Manager tracks storage usage throughout a corporation and comes bundled with powerful reporting and analysis tools that allow IT managers to do trend analysis on storage infrastructure.