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Managing HP Storage Essentials (SRM) 6.x Software test
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The precise state of SRM, part three

The last installment of a three-half series on storage resource administration takes an in-depth examine some of the main companies/items, according to palms-on journey.

through John Echaniz

Having examined the storage resource management (SRM) market in universal, this article specializes in one of the most main products in the house and what differentiates them from their opponents. there are many products that function portions of SRM-linked functionality (e.g., Akorri’s focus on performance, Onaro’s center of attention on exchange management and root-trigger evaluation, etc.), however for the functions of this text, coverage changed into constrained to bigger players out there that offer conclusion-to-conclusion packaged solutions.

EMC ControlCenter

Of all the SRM purposes obtainable nowadays, none is extra firmly established than EMC ControlCenter (ECC). generally due to the prevalence of EMC’s hardware, ECC has been the market-share leader considering that SRM equipment all started to pop up on the storage administration landscape. It continues to guide the pack today, despite growing to be challenges from regularly maturing competitors.

ControlCenter changed into at first developed to help storage management operations simplest on EMC hardware; EMC centred its construction efforts on deep aid of its personal apparatus first, with certain emphasis on Symmetrix arrays. as the market started to demand multi-supplier aid, construction center of attention shifted to expand ECC’s management attain, while continuing to consolidate further and further superior EMC storage management features in the application’s GUI.

besides the fact that children nearly all of SRM consumers don't depend on SRM GUIs for provisioning actions, ECC clients are the absolutely to make use of this performance, because it is very sound, principally on native EMC hardware. cloth administration features are straightforward, and most EMC-based replication capabilities are incorporated into the product in a manner that users-after they're educated-can deal with for normal local and far off replica approaches. ECC’s aid of host working methods, mainframes, Fibre Channel switches, and arrays is expansive, and the infrastructure used to run these operations scales to extraordinarily enormous environments.

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ECC’s reporting module, StorageScope, extracts a wealth of facts from ECC that's simply attainable and customizable through a web browser for pre-canned and some user-certain reporting. The facts that resides within ControlCenter’s repository is also purchasable through an SQL client and API, which opens the door for further facts use and customization for greater-advanced organizations. additionally, despite the fact not yet integrated into the reporting interface, it's feasible to set thresholds and report on key performance indications, similar to disk utilization, cache utilization, and port throughput. The 6.0 unlock of ECC, released this summer, more suitable the seem to be and feel of StorageScope and built-in the previously separate File level Reporter functionality. during this product unencumber, StorageScope may have its own Oracle-based repository for less difficult integration and stronger efficiency.

EMC’s acquisition of VMware and VMware’s popular market success have pushed ECC’s aid of VMware cases within the product’s 6.0 unencumber. in this free up, ESX servers can be fully discovered, offering views of all the virtualized visitor hosts within them. while storage virtualization is not fully supported, ECC is able to find Hitachi facts methods’ USP arrays. besides the fact that children, the assist for these systems is limited to simple array discovery and reporting, and since ECC is not conscious that the array is in fact virtualized, there still remains the opportunity of inaccurate capacity reporting if each the USP array and the virtualized arrays at the back of it are found out.

ECC’s typical depth of performance comes with a few drawbacks. To retain its effective points as a SAN grows, ECC may require many servers to tackle the agent site visitors, as neatly because the expanded number of objects comprising the storage infrastructure. Add to this the want for more servers to aid heterogeneous arrays, and an ECC management infrastructure can begin to sprawl. Like most SRM tools, ECC setting up is commonly performed via seller services, but in better environments, ongoing ECC administration also will require full-time consideration to retain the software performing well. due to this, EMC often sells features round ECC management; ControlCenter is most advisable to a consumer when it is managed via someone with tremendous product abilities.

while the product’s heterogeneous attain is improving, multi-supplier disk array, NAS, and tape device assist proceed to be ECC’s primary weaknesses. certainly, aid for network appliance’s methods is a big blind spot, particularly given NetApp’s primacy within the NAS house. HDS and IBM array aid is restricted to little greater than primary discovery and operation with the existing unlock. With the nearer adherence to SMI-S standardization in ECC 6.0 (and with the maturation of SMI-S itself), discovery and guide of arrays from carriers reminiscent of IBM and HDS will improve steadily. That mentioned, for retailers the place EMC hardware is typical, ControlCenter continues to be a high-quality choice for storage administration.

HDS HiCommand Storage features manager

To tackle its personal SRM performance needs, Hitachi information techniques began re-branding and promoting the AppIQ StorageAuthority Suite in 2004. With Hewlett-Packard’s acquisition of AppIQ in 2005, this application kit became the normal SRM device for HDS storage environments. it's now provided through HDS (HiCommand Storage capabilities supervisor, or HSSM), HP (Storage essentials), and solar (sun/StorageTek Operations manager), and additionally via vendors similar to Engenio and SGI. each supplier has its own packaging nuances, however the underlying product is an identical.

because of its independent origins, HSSM turned into stronger organized for multi-seller storage environments than some of its rivals. Array assist started with the most commonplace providers and fashions and accelerated to enrich App-IQ OEM companions. The application’s host, switch, and array support base is massive, and on the entire, HSSM is not problematic to configure. In selected, HSSM’s assist for NetApp gadgets is superb; despite the fact clients can't actively manipulate NetApp filers from HSSM, the console gives extensive configuration and utilization information, all the way down to minute particulars.

HSSM’s all-in-one server setup makes for a relatively painless configuration experience. The console is run thoroughly via a browser, so no client install is required across a allotted consumer base.

The aspect of HSSM most liked by way of its users is the GUI. neatly-organized and intuitive, the consumer interface is logically assembled and is capable of address big amounts of records in a way it truly is handy to traverse. peculiarly, the product’s topology views are very valuable in monitoring part connectivity without overwhelming the administrator.

HSSM also offers optional elements for managing and monitoring selected applications, comparable to Microsoft change and a number of databases. clients can gain positive perception into the efficiency qualities of these purposes and the add-ons in the back of them. This will also be completed through further gadget configuration, devoid of further brokers.

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despite these advantages, HSSM has some challenges to overcome. fundamental amongst these is the scaling issue offered by the all-in-one server infrastructure, which inherently limits the breadth that an installing can accommodate. A connected situation is the time it takes the utility to operate factor discovery across a sizable installed base. Many operations are stylish on this discovery manner, so such delays can have an effect on clients if the discovery system runs into hours of enterprise operation.

The records made purchasable via full discoveries is reasonably positive, but the host-discovery procedure will also be exhausting in some environments. as an example, for full host discovery, administrators ought to deploy the CIM extension on each host and provide the host’s IP address, user identify, and password to the HSSM server. On properly of that, home windows hosts require an additional proxy system. Some clients have opted to forego complete host discovery because of this technique.

HSSM’s reporting part provides solid storage environment information, from excessive-degree utilization summaries to exact element configurations. These reporting capabilities, youngsters, require a regular records refresh, that can regularly be time- and processor-intensive.

The reporting element, chiefly the customized reporting capacity, is the product’s one interface element that is not very effortless to make use of and navigate.

although it is the SRM fabricated from choice for HDS storage environments, there are terrific purposeful omissions in HSSM concerning HDS hardware. for example, HDS’s native and far flung replication operations (ShadowImage and TrueCopy) don't seem to be accessible from the HSSM GUI. also, HSSM does not thoroughly support HDS’s array-based mostly storage virtualization answer; it isn't at present able to address the invention of a TagmaStore array and the arrays it virtualizes without double-counting the storage. Tighter integration with HDS’s storage virtualization performance would aid both solutions (HSSM and Tagma-store) achieve more advantageous market adoption. as it stands, HSSM does deliver a really useful and practical tool to view, manage, and file on a storage network from conclusion to conclusion, and extra market adoption will support HDS force enhancements to meet client needs.

IBM TotalStorage productivity core

IBM’s TotalStorage productiveness middle (TPC) is a modular method to SRM inclusive of TPC for Disk, cloth, information, and Replication, every of which turned into a separate Tivoli product in prior generations of the application. These elements had been built-in into a consolidated DB2 database and GUI front-conclusion. Like HSSM, TPC relies on the SMI-S normal for heterogeneous device guide and verbal exchange and as such offers a huge range of array, swap, and host insurance.

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numerous software carriers have tested that box use will drive product advancements. If a turning out to be consumer base uses a product actively, the product is extra likely to increase through function requests and commonplace remarks. IBM has wisely established TPC for Disk as a substitute for ESS expert-the tool previously used to computer screen efficiency on IBM’s older Shark arrays. This determination alone led to a big boost in TPC utilization. IBM is now also together with the “constrained” version of TPC with earnings of its DS line of disk arrays. With TPC accessories already installed in the facts center, it turns into significantly simpler for clients to discover other accessories of the product and eventually boost their usage of it.

TPC is geared toward IBM hardware, whereas offering primary performance for different vendors’ apparatus, which is to be anticipated of products that count on the SMI-S usual. TPC for Replication gives wide help for IBM’s local and far off replication operations (FlashCopy and Metro reflect). whereas these capabilities don't yet lengthen to non-IBM arrays, the functionality offered in the course of the GUI is deep and complete. TPC’s guide of NetApp hardware (which IBM re-brands) is additionally very good, featuring positive perception into filer utilization and quota degrees, and even file-stage facts.

clients have discovered the TPC GUI intuitive and easy to make use of. even though it is not as slick as a few of its competitors, it is comparatively basic to use; most directors on no account crack open the users’ guide past preliminary install because the tree-view layout is conducive to exploration. The topology viewer comes with a easy formula for modern drilldown, enabling clients to “pin” definite degrees of display whereas retaining their typical context. in this manner, the screen can handle a large number of accessories without becoming overwhelming to the user.

one more incredible difference for TPC is its aid for IBM’s storage virtualization answer, the SAN volume Controller (SVC). although it simplest helps the IBM virtualization answer at this time, TPC is the simplest SRM tool out there that may manipulate, video display, and document on storage virtualization, with visibility into the SVC’s inner workings. TPC is in a position to computer screen site visitors in the course of the SVC’s nodes, which become up to now a significant blind spot for efficiency troubleshooting in a virtualized storage atmosphere. Going forward, IBM will do well to give enhanced visibility into digital-disk to managed-disk relationships to facilitate greater-extensive troubleshooting. TPC’s summer time liberate (version three.3) added change administration functionality to the product in the variety of wizards that assist clients plan and execute configuration adjustments and tune their background. It also delivered performance for examining SAN configurations in opposition t customizable greatest-observe policies. With these advances, TPC seems to be extending its attain into the trade management house where providers reminiscent of Onaro have found success.

Like its competitors’ items, TPC’s items also have some shortcomings. The product ships with actually hundreds of canned studies that cover a wide spectrum of advice about the storage commercial enterprise. That talked about, advanced users who need to extract and manipulate the reporting facts may have a tough time digging into the underlying statistics; the database is open, but now not naturally documented, which inhibits its use.

TPC agents introduce some drawbacks as smartly. These agents will also be pushed remotely, but now not “silently;” guide interaction is required for every far flung agent installing. here's stronger than desiring to make a physical visit to each and every server, but the capability to automate the agent push would make the standard agent rollout technique easier. TPC brokers require a number of greater firewall ports to be opened than its competitors, which may function a significant obstacle in environments with stricter firewall suggestions.

eventually, the cloth brokers required by using TPC for material require undue proliferation. For suitable change administration through TPC, a cloth agent have to run on at the least one host related at once to every swap the user desires to control, and basic redundancy rules demand two brokers deployed per switch. enhancing upon this circumstance will encourage more clients to undertake TPC for cloth as the change administration device of choice, but until then users will continue to depend on native swap administration tools.

The consumer neighborhood for the entire TPC suite is still relatively confined in dimension, regardless of the product’s growing to be popularity. TPC for Disk is by using a ways essentially the most commonplace a part of the suite, since it is the most instantly effective part to storage managers. TPC for fabric, facts, and Replication continue to be pretty frivolously used in evaluation, but as storage managers develop into more established with the product’s benefits, the TPC suite will become extra broadly adopted.

Symantec CommandCentral Storage

compared to its simple competitors, Symantec is at an inherent disadvantage when it is jockeying for position in the SRM space. where different providers have bundling opportunities for their storage management tools in hardware offers, Symantec have to rely primarily on the comparative benefits of its SRM tool, CommandCentral Storage (CCS). shoppers often use array purchases as negotiating leverage when they're since array management software, and supplier-presented SRM tools are constantly more characteristic-rich when managing their vendors’ personal hardware. These two market components have labored towards Symantec, however the CCS development group has been capable of differentiate its product in an more and more crowded market.

CommandCentral Storage uses a mix of SMI-S and supplier APIs to obtain huge element support while providing practical depth throughout a wide selection of hardware. for instance, CCS uses the EMC Clariion API to supply advanced LUN binding functionality on Clariion arrays, the place one of the crucial other products are extra functionally restrained. Even in environments where CCS is used every day, it is not typical for storage provisioning; that said, the product’s designers deliberate for it smartly via taking the hybrid strategy to multi-seller guide.

One gigantic strength of CCS is its consolidated use of agents. where other SRM products have a large choice of agents used to manage several types of accessories in a storage infrastructure, CCS relies on one installable agent it really is configurable to control loads of distinctive components. The same agent- installation equipment is used to manipulate hosts, arrays, switches, and certain functions all over an ambiance. This makes ambiance tuning considerably easier: administrators can configure distinctive assortment accessories (i.e., “explorers”) as an ambiance grows, without the need to set up extra programs.

CCS has additionally differentiated itself through the ability to push agents to servers throughout an environment. particularly in stores the place servers have a consistent maintenance login and password, CCS’s Agent Push Utility can load brokers on diverse bins through batch jobs that require no guide intervention. Symantec could additional lengthen its capabilities during this enviornment by using constructing greater automation around the prerequisite-checking technique. Host qualification nonetheless takes considerable time and effort, which slows down the normal deployment system vastly.

Database visibility within CCS is specially helpful for storage managers and DBAs alike. once the bottom agent is configured to collect database suggestions, CCS provides a consolidated view of databases throughout a knowledge middle, together with version suggestions and tablespace utilization. CCS is able to reveal the complete data direction, which is terribly constructive when troubleshooting.

CCS has also taken knowledge of Symantec’s market share within the clustering and server volume management house. The software has outstanding visibility into cluster utilization-yet another large expertise in the SRM market-and offers similar insight into Veritas quantity supervisor and File gadget configurations. With the occurrence of the Symantec Storage groundwork suite in the Unix world, possibly Symantec will trap on this position sooner or later by using bundling CCS agents with Storage basis. Such product convergence might assist CCS profit appreciable market share by way of casting off one of the crucial fundamental impediments to SRM adoption.

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Symantec has incorporated the acquisition of Invio into the CCS combine within the variety of Veritas process Automation supervisor, a workflow engine intended to power collaborative initiatives corresponding to storage provisioning via a standardized, auditable method. it is a features-intensive effort to design and enforce and has now not yet been used largely; that said, this module has the talents to bring some order to chaotic storage environments, so it can be worth tracking how the SRM market reacts to this supplemental CCS offering going forward.

As outlined in the past, Symantec has some hazards when it's competing with SRM items from storage hardware companies. These negative aspects have kept the CCS market share quite small compared to SRM items from providers comparable to IBM, HP, HDS, and EMC. on account of this smaller customer base, there have been fewer alternatives for CCS to be truly challenged with field use, which skill its widely wide-spread product steadiness might also lag behind the different items. SRM equipment interact with such distinct and numerous accessories that vendors can not hope to verify each mixture of part, driver, and firmware on any large scale. steady container feedback is completely essential for SRM device success.

CCS has experienced some performance concerns in bigger environments. In shops with server counts in the heaps, the managed object count number may additionally grow to some extent the place CCS’s GUI response times lag vastly. When this happens, CCS might also come upon element responsiveness problems, so as to necessitate extra guide intervention to maintain ambiance counsel current. How- ever, this summer time’s liberate of CCS 5.0 gives a few advancements in this enviornment; as an example, the new server structure better the product’s database utilization, lowering its reliance on memory. The 5.0 release also comprises tunable point discovery, to be able to permit “delta” processing as opposed to full information pulls, which in turn, will make environment discovery extra-productive. These enhancements may still alleviate many, if no longer all, of the performance challenges in the four.three edition of CCS.

CCS has additionally had some challenges with reporting. One formula for mitigating efficiency issues in greater environments is to break out ambiance administration into multiple CCS servers. world rollup of CCS facts become meant to be achieved by its facts Rollup Utility (DRU), however this process changed into firstly meant for backup reporting and skilled scaling and steadiness complications on the storage facet.

The 5.0 unlock will abandon the DRU process in favor of business Reporter, a Cognos-primarily based reporting device with a view to allow for less complicated file customization, and international rollup of CCS instances for reporting functions.

Canned reports in CCS are fairly restricted, but positive. once more, in higher retail outlets, facts increase within the 4.three edition can become too lots for CCS to tackle, chiefly when operating intensive experiences reminiscent of trended utilization. CCS additionally comes with a one by one installable data Module, which can be used for file-level reporting. This produces effective insight into getting old files, and assorted file copies, nevertheless it have to be used sparingly on account of the records growth it will possibly produce. The aforementioned enhancements in 5.0 will also enhance the reporting performance through enhanced use of the CCS database.

On the total, Symantec CommandCentral Storage has many advantages, youngsters up to now it has suffered from lack of frequent use. despite the fact, as the product’s user base grows, and as Symantec establishes tighter integration with its other products, CCS should be ready to make significant leaps forward in the SRM house.

Conclusion

over the last a couple of years, SRM tools have matured frequently and have seen extra frequent use and adoption.they're increasingly considered to be a typical part of most important storage sales and are getting used as key aspects of records centralization and administration. subsequently, the cost of SRM items have to lie in IT price range savings; the greater these tools allow IT stores to do more with less-to manipulate, report, plan, and troubleshoot with ease-the extra these products may be integrated into ordinary operations.

For SRM to basically fulfill its trade promise, these tools must construct on the development they’ve made over the past few years. among the greater pressing challenges, they ought to comprise deeper, more-significant move-vendor guide and seamless world aggregation, and that they ought to enhance in their capacity to automate storage operations in the event that they will ever profit acceptance through veteran storage administrators. beyond these challenges, as SRM matures further to conquer archive management, backup integration, and facts deduplication management- sooner or later delving into the statistics itself-SRM will in fact be able to deliver that lengthy-promised single standpoint in which the storage world will also be managed.

constituents 1 and a couple of of this series of articles seemed in June 2007 and July 2007, on pages 31 and 33, respectively.

John Echaniz is director of client options at the NovusCG (www.novuscg.com). NovusCG’s Justin Schnauder, technologist, and David Askew, customer technology government, also contributed to this article.

representative SRM carriers
  • Akorri
  • Brocade
  • CA
  • CommVault
  • EMC
  • Hewlett-Packard
  • Hitachi information methods
  • IBM
  • MonoSphere
  • community equipment
  • Northern
  • NTP utility
  • Onaro
  • Symantec
  • Tek-equipment
  • TeraCloud

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