IBM introduces Tivoli Storage Resource Manager

Taking advantage of its recent acquisition of TrelliSoft Corp., IBM Corp. next week plans to introduce its first storage resource management software to offer advanced features such as 300 preset reports, chargeback and load balancing, all based on open standards.

The Tivoli Storage Resource Manager suite uses Java-based storage resource monitoring to determine disk capacity usage and set policy-based thresholds and reporting on arrays from IBM and competitors Hewlett-Packard Co., EMC Corp., Hitachi Data Systems Corp. and Storage Technology Corp.

It also supports Linux operating systems, as well as HP-UX, Sun Solaris, AIX and Windows XP, and databases such as DB2/UDB, SQL Server, Oracle and Sybase.

“We’re the only one that’s hardware-agnostic. This allows the customer to define policy,” said Jose Iglesias, director of storage products for IBM Tivoli.

Tivoli Storage Resource Manager works by using competitors’ application programming interfaces to create a single dashboard view of all the hardware and software on a storage network, including direct-attached and network-attached storage devices.

The software also provides automated tools with functions such as reporting on storage use by application, providing disk capacity alerts, and monitoring overall network performance levels and storage availability.

Chargeback capabilities also enable storage administrators to track storage use by department or by large storage volume users and define actions in response to events. Reports can then be grouped by setting user-defined objects.

Tim Masey, manager of IT infrastructure at the Joint Commission of Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., installed the Storage Alert feature set of Tivoli Storage Resource Manager last month and said it has slashed from hours to minutes the time it takes to discover disk capacity on his three Compaq StorageWorks arrays, 10 HP-UX servers and 60 Windows 2000 servers.

“I used to have a network administrator go out and do a study on each of the systems and report on them manually,” said Masey, who predominantly runs SQL Server and Sybase databases on his machines.

Storage Resource Manager is priced per processor, but on average costs about US$2,000 per server, IBM said.

Masey, who paid less than US$100,000 for the software, said that in the future he’d like to see IBM add dynamic storage allocation to the suite, so when one application reaches a capacity threshold, another server can automatically allocate more storage.

Currently, IBM is selling its Storage Resource Manager product as a separate application. But the company said it will eventually be integrated into its Tivoli product suite.

According to Gartner Inc. in Stamford, Conn., storage resource management software is currently a US$249 million market that is expected to grow to US$739 million by 2006.

In related news, IBM next week plans to introduce Tivoli Storage Area Network Manager software, which is based on its WebSphere application development platform. The software will provide automated discovery for a centralized point for all storage-area network (SAN) configurations, making it easier to ensure application availability and simplify storage administration.

IBM also plans to introduce its TotalStorage Enterprise Tape Controller 3590 Model A60, which will provide native 2Gbps Fibre Channel. The combination of 3590 tape drives with the A60 and an IBM SAN switch can provide customers with up to 40 per cent more throughput over previous Model A60 Ficon systems, IBM said.