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True IT – Storage Stories: 3 (SRM Tools)


storage web multisiteThe necessity for SRM (Storage Resource Management) tools is growing by the day, a complete picture of the entire storage environment can be obtained using these SRM Tools. Customers typically use SRM tools for performing key functions related to storage management which includes analyzing storage environments, configuration changes, reporting around storage, collecting performance data, alerts on exceptions, etc. Also a granular view of the storage subsystems and its relationships to the host, fabric, disk, file-systems, consumption and utilization can be obtained using SRM tools.

A very large customer in US decided to deploy Storage Resource Management tools for their Storage Infrastructure, that consisted of 15 sites globally, several PB’s of Storage, various make & model of storage arrays and segregated storage management teams. Overcoming several technological and organizational challenges they managed to deploy a SRM tool that will give them a complete picture of the Storage Environment.

30 Million Dollars as deployment cost in CAPEX which included SRM tool, licenses, OS licenses, hardware, agent deployment, testing, training, virtualization, etc, etc and 24 months deployment cycle, they were up and running, 50% over budget and 12 months behind schedule the implementation was over.

Though challenges today remain around patch management on SRM tool, managing 15 sites globally, OS upgrades, SRM tool upgrades, Array firmware upgrades & compatibility, SRM management, SRM periodic cleanup’s, support for non SMI-S arrays, support for other vendor arrays, accuracy of reports with virtualization, clustering and thin provisioning.

Lesson Learnt:

With any SRM tool deployment, set goals, targets, expectations, requirements and organizational needs. With today’s SRM tools it may be unrealistic to achieve 100% of your requirements.

See if there are trial versions available from vendors, deploy them for 3 to 6 months to see if those meet the expectations and organizational needs.

Check the compatibility of the SRM tool across a wide variety of storage platforms deployed in the organization. Review security features around access control, login rights, active directory integration, etc

Set Budget caps with implementation and set target completion dates and be aggressive to achieve those.

Obtain TCO models for the SRM tool deployment, which may include CAPEX SRM purchase, deployment, testing, day-to-day management, software support cost, upfront & ongoing training, hardware for deployment, infrastructure changes, etc.

  • TheEsp

    Nice story Devang.

    I know I'm looking into what SRM tools would be good in my environment.

    Do you have any recommendations.

  • http://storagenerve.com storagenerve

    Hi, glad you are looking into SRM tools. Its has become a wide necessity these days with storage management.

    Though its very hard to say what may meet your requirements.

    There are several factors you should consider, what type of arrays you have that you are trying to manage, do all the arrays support SMI-S, what are your budgets, what reporting are you trying to achieve, is SRM tool being implemented for easy of use, storage management or are there any specific business issues your team is trying to achieve and the list can go on.

    Again its hard to say anything at this point, but feel free to email me your requirements and other things, would be more than glad to help you.

    THanks
    Devang

  • CS

    I have been working on SRM tools for a while. Interesting to read this post on challenges for SRM tools.. But how do we go about building a tool(or tools) that would work for a large customer configuration as well as for medium/small configuration. This is a challenge- Scalability!

  • http://storagenerve.com storagenerve

    Hi, so that is surely the hard part, no out of the box solution would fit both SMB and Enterprise level customers, since the requirements in both the cases will be much different. Vendors should look at having an enterprise heavy tool with tons of bells and whistles and also have LITE versions of the same software that helps accomplish basic tasks for SMB's at a cost effective rate…just an approach.

    With Enterprise customers, these days we have seen scalability as the biggest challenge both from a management and manageability standpoints with SRM tools. I also see small SRM vendors are never able to play in the large enterprise space.

  • http://storagenerve.com storagenerve

    Hi, so that is surely the hard part, no out of the box solution would fit both SMB and Enterprise level customers, since the requirements in both the cases will be much different. Vendors should look at having an enterprise heavy tool with tons of bells and whistles and also have LITE versions of the same software that helps accomplish basic tasks for SMB's at a cost effective rate…just an approach.

    With Enterprise customers, these days we have seen scalability as the biggest challenge both from a management and manageability standpoints with SRM tools. I also see small SRM vendors are never able to play in the large enterprise space.