As IT budget spending on disk and SAN storage systems rises back to prominence, customers are sounding the call for better storage infrastructure optimization and manageability within mixed-vendor environments.
To help simplify the complexity of numerous moving parts, IBM on Tuesday unveiled the IBM TotalStorage Productivity Center. Available in May, Productivity Center is a modular suite of storage and virtualization software products earmarked to centralize management of multiple storage hardware systems, as well as analyze performance metrics to conduct error-mapping and to prevent hardware failures before they occur, said Theresa ONeil, director of Storage Strategy for IBM Tivoli Storage Software, in Austin, Texas.
With a heavy emphasis on automation and configuration, Productivity Center comprises four parts. New products focused on disk activities include IBM Performance Manager and Replication Manager, with both falling under TotalStorage Multiple Device Manager. In addition, Productivity Center features IBM Tivoli SAN Manager for heterogeneous SAN management and IBM Tivoli Storage Resource Manager to enable storage resource performance management through monitoring, reporting and real-time alerts, noted ONeil.
Productivity Center will incorporate a free software add-on central launch pad that will allow administrators to launch or manage any of the integrated offering capabilities from a single console.
In order to inject a workflow element into the suite, future development will integrate Tivoli Provisioning Manager into Productivity Center. This will allow customers to automate storage infrastructure at their own pace, as data volumes expand.
According to a report released last week from IDC, based in Framingham, Mass., the worldwide disk storage system market grew 6.1 percent in revenue from the fourth quarter of 2002 to the fourth quarter of 2003. The IDC report said that the worldwide open SAN (storage area network) market—including iSCSI devices—grew by 27.2 percent during the same time.
Vendors havent made it easy for customers—who, as it is, are facing integration difficulties—to buy what they need, from a storage infrastructure and management perspective.
"Customers are buying storage again, and they are probably going to demand [that] the manageability of storage is much better this time around," said Anne MacFarland, an analyst for The Clipper Group, based in Wellesley, Mass. "What you need these days is the right philosophy and the right piece parts and management capabilities to pull it into something that is easier to use. … I think IBM has brought clarity to a place that really needed it."