IBM Bundles Storage Software

New Suite centralizes storage management.

IBM aims to simplify the complexity IT departments face in managing data centers that are filling with disk and SAN storage systems from various vendors.

The companys IBM TotalStorage Productivity Center, introduced last week and due for release in May, is a modular suite of storage and virtualization software earmarked to centralize management of multiple storage hardware systems. The package analyzes performance metrics to conduct error mapping and prevent hardware failures before they occur, said IBM officials 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, each falling under TotalStorage Multiple Device Manager. In addition, Productivity Center features Tivoli SAN Manager for heterogeneous storage area network management and Tivoli Storage Resource Manager to enable storage resource performance through monitoring, reporting and real-time alerts.

Productivity Center will incorporate a central launch pad that allows administrators to launch or manage any of the capabilities from a single screen.

Future development will integrate Tivoli Provisioning Manager with Productivity Center to inject a workflow element into the suite, allowing customers to automate storage infrastructure at their own pace to compensate for expanding data volumes.

For some IT managers, storage issues such as the duplication of data and allocation of disk space can be directly affected by the quality of storage management software.

"Disk space is not as inexpensive as you would be led to believe when you talk about iSCSI environments where you try to maintain some semblance of order," said Frank Barbaro, corporate manager of network services at SMTC Manufacturing Corp., in Markham, Ontario. "It is really important to keep your data duplication to a minimum."

SMTC runs Tivoli Storage Manager to manage backup.

Although he has not tested TotalStorage Productivity Center, Barbaro said that helping storage administrators offload the burden of manual storage management would be a good thing. "Unfortunately, there doesnt seem to be a whole lot of time or budget to train users on the benefits of using [disk] space wisely," Barbaro said.