Fujitsu Softek enters storage management fray

After two years in development, Fujitsu Software Technology Corp. (Fujitsu Softek) on Monday rolled out its Storage Manager 1.1.0 software, one of the first storage software products to integrate today’s most sought-after storage management functions in one automated management console, storage experts report.

Softek’s Storage Manager takes four essential storage management technologies – data management, SRM (storage resource management), virtualization, and storage network monitoring – and combines them under a single, intuitive management GUI, said Steven Murphy, the president and CEO of Fujitsu Softek, the storage software arm of Fujitsu Limited, in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Additionally, Storage Manager gives administrators the power to automate procedures within a storage network through the use of variable policies that could, for example, automatically allocate additional storage to an area of the network suddenly hit with an overflow of data. “Storage Manager acts, it doesn’t just report,” said Murphy.

Arun Taneja, a senior analyst with the Enterprise Storage Group in Milford, Mass., said Softek’s Storage Manager is indeed one of the very first storage management products to bring key storage management features to a single management console.

“I think the idea that Fujitsu Softek is embracing is absolutely on the mark. There are not that many companies in the market that can deliver a comprehensive storage network package,” said Taneja.

“Today you have individual companies focused on SRM, or on storage network monitoring, but the thing is they are still individual interfaces, the look and feel is different on each product, you need multiple consoles, and it gets to be kind of a mess,” said Taneja.

Capable of working across both networked storage devices and mainframe storage, Softek’s Storage Manager uses software agents to monitor file systems, perform specific tasks like collect data and manage files, create virtual data pools, and generate a range of reports concerning the status of a network’s storage capacity and devices. Policies to automate storage management can be created, tested and then activated with a system that then verifies that assigned storage management policies are being implemented correctly, according to Fujitsu Softek.

The ability for Softek’s Storage Manager to essentially “take action” and manage a storage scenario according to set policies puts the product ahead of practically all of the competition in the storage software market, at least for now, said Taneja. “Fujitsu is at the forefront of storage automation, but every player is moving in that direction. It’s not going to be exclusive for long,” he said.

In the meantime, Softek will be able to pitch its Storage Manager against some of the biggest storage software competitors in the business, including Veritas, which according to Taneja is one of the companies that lacks a “comprehensive storage management presentation” that controls the four vital functions of data management; SRM, virtualization, and storage network monitoring through the same management console.

A Veritas spokesperson said the company does not offer a stand-alone product that delivers integrated data management, SRM, virtualization, and storage network monitoring. However, it can deliver those features in the form of separate Veritas products that could be “tightly integrated at the core technology level.”

With its CloudBreak storage operating system, TrueSAN Networks, based in San Jose, Calif., is the only other storage software company that offers storage management software to integrate and automate the four key storage functions into a single management utility, said Taneja.

Softek officials understand they have their work cut out for them in delivering the message that Fujitsu is a name to be associated with enterprise storage management software. While Softek’s Storage Manager has been on the drawing board for over two years, the company itself launched less than twelve months ago.

However, Taneja expects Softek to make headway into the storage software market by both aggressive promotion and by leveraging Fujitsu’s server install base as a nest for potential storage software customers.

Pricing for Softek’s Storage Manager averages between US$35,000 and US$45,000 depending on network configuration, according to Murphy.

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