eWEEK Labs tests showed CommandCentral Storage 4.0, which shipped last month priced at $24,000, provides IT managers with a capable tool for visualizing storage resources and deploying them easily. We liked CommandCentral Storages new Web-based management interface and found it made day-to-day storage management tasks easier. CommandCentral Storage 4.0 is built on top of Veritas SRM (storage resource management) technology and can interface with Veritas CommandCentral Service module (which monitors service levels) and CommandCentral Availability module (which provides cluster management). Together, these modules form a solid foundation for simplifying management. (We did not test CommandCentral Service or CommandCentral Availability.) A three-module bundle starts at $64,000.Like other storage management vendors, Veritas is feeling the heat from IT managers who are tired of having to use multiple interfaces to manage their storage. Veritas is not alone in its quest to rein in its disparate interfaces; vendors including Softek Storage Solutions Corp. (formerly known as Fujitsu Softek) are attempting to do the same. The challenge for Veritas is that it has a wide variety of products in its lineup, covering not only storage but also utility computing and application management. Click here to find out how Veritas is using CommanCentral to help drive its utility computing agenda. CommandCentral Storage 4.0 handles SRM, storage provisioning and basic SAN (storage area network) management. The SRM functionality was easy to use in tests, and we created reports and monitored our storage resources with no trouble. We also liked CommandCentral Storage 4.0s provisioning capabilities, which allowed us to find available storage resources and assign them to servers quickly. The provisioning functionality takes care of basic zoning, logical unit number masking and LUN binding, which should make it easy for even junior administrators to assign additional storage resources when needed. The monitoring capabilities of CommandCentral Storage 4.0 quickly showed us problem areas on a test SAN and posted warning messages related to hosts, storage devices and networking hardware. When CommandCentral Storage is used with the CommandCentral Service 4.0 module, it provides IT managers with chargeback capabilities for calculating the cost of storage resources used. Although this version of CommandCentral Storage wont completely eliminate the need to use multiple interfaces for advanced chores, it does make management easier. Future CommandCentral Storage versions will integrate with other Veritas products, including the NetBackup and Backup Exec tools, as well as with Data Lifecycle Manager, which provides integrated archiving and hierarchical storage management. In particular, we eagerly await Veritas storage products integration with the companys backup offerings because that will give IT managers the abilityfrom a single interfaceto enforce data protection policies while provisioning storage. Using CommandCentral Storage 4.0s interface, we could quickly see which users were using the most storage resources, and we could use trend analysis to predict when we would have to acquire more storage hardware. 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.