Computer Associates International Inc.s BrightStor Storage Resource Manager 6.4 is an enterprise class product that not only monitors open systems but also covers mainframes.
In general, storage resource management products are important because they are the tools that IT managers use to get information about storage before making purchasing and allocation decisions.
That said, BrightStor SRM 6.4 isnt a good fit for small and midsize organizations because its expensive and because most smaller organizations wont need its high-end enterprise capabilities.
The BrightStor SRM software costs $1,995 for the management server license, plus $795 per Windows and Linux server, and $995 for each Unix server—not a bad deal for larger enterprises that are trying to get storage consolidation headaches under control but far too expensive for smaller organizations.
In tests, BrightStor SRM 6.4 provided solid enterprise-class functionality, but it wasnt easy to implement and may not be the best choice for less complex IT shops. To get the most out of BrightStor SRM, companies need to have large, heterogeneous environments with lots of storage to manage.
During our installation of BrightStor SRM 6.4, the software automatically created a database and configured it for the test application to use. This is a handy feature because it saved us from having to set up and configure a database ahead of time before installing the product (a step we had to take when installing IBMs competing Tivoli Storage Resource Manager and many other SRM products).
BrightStor SRM 6.4
CAs enterprise-class storage resource management product will help big companies, but its too costly for small and midsize organizations. The product costs $1,995 for the management server license, $795 for each Windows and Linux server, and $995 for each Unix server. Of course, smaller companies likely wont need BrightStors souped-up automation and superior interoperability with enterprise-class arrays.
EVALUATION SHORT LIST
In BrightStor tests, during installation to a basic workgroup environment composed of several Windows 2000 and Windows 2003 servers, we had problems delivering and installing the agent to our Windows workgroup servers. CA officials suggested we implement the product in a domain environment, and that made implementation a bit easier.
Integration with Microsoft Corp.s Active Directory will be enhanced in the next version, according to CA officials. Currently, BrightStor SRM 6.4 can interface only with Active Directory to locate Exchange servers.
The BrightStor SRM 6.4 interface is not the easiest to navigate and learn, but it has built-in wizards that make some tasks, such as adding agents, easier.
IT managers can take advantage of BrightStor SRM 6.4s new integration with high-end storage systems, including Hitachi Data Systems Inc.s Freedom Storage and EMC Corp.s Symmetrix. BrightStor SRM 6.4 can monitor storage consumption, availability and allocation on these systems.
On the application side, BrightStor SRM 6.4 can monitor Oracle Corp. databases and—new in this edition —Microsofts Exchange e-mail servers. It also works with Veritas Software Corp.s Volume Manager.
Like other advanced SRM offerings, BrightStor SRM 6.4 can integrate with most backup packages. Support for CAs ARCserve and Tivoli Storage Resource Manager are new in this release.
This ability to integrate is extremely useful because it allows IT administrators to make sure that tape backups are being run for constantly changing data and not being wasted backing up stale data.
Using BrightStor SRM 6.4 monitoring and alerting capabilities, its possible to script actions to take place to respond to events.
Senior Analyst Henry Baltazar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.