NTP Software recently launched an enhancement to its storage management software that lets IT administrators charge departments or business units in an enterprise for their use of storage resources.
The Storage Billing System module — part of NTP’s Modeling & Analysis (M&A) package — runs on a Windows server and provides an analysis with projections, risk analysis and file-level detail of all storage resources. With M&A, IT administrators can see what percentage of a network is consumed by duplicate, unnecessary, abandoned or illegal files.
“Chargeback has been used in the mainframe world for a long time,” says Randy Kerns, an independent storage analyst. “Many IT managers want to be able to use it for open systems as well and are starting to, at least in some fashion. The problems have been that the storage management software is still maturing, and the ability to get the information from different storage systems has been a struggle. It’s getting better now and will improve as more vendors support the [Storage Management Interface Specification].”
The Storage Billing System module works with NTP’s Quota & File Sentinel to base billing on quota usage or actual consumption of storage resources.
“Managing chargeback with quotas gives the end user the incentive to not go over their quota and the flexibility of charging more if they exceed it,” says Sal Capizzi, senior analyst for Yankee Group.
HP, OpenIT, Tivoli and Northern also offer software for chargeback. With HP’s Chargeback Manager, IT can assign chargeback values based on the amount of storage used, the tier of storage and the ownership percentage of systems, servers, switches and storage arrays assigned to individual departments. Chargeback Manager is priced by the number of Fibre Channel or Gigabit Ethernet ports used.
NTP says it will add the ability to charge back for storage usage by tiered storage devices in future versions of the Storage Billing System. The Storage Billing System supports Network Appliance and Windows file servers and a variety of storage-area network and direct-attached storage arrays.
Pricing is not yet available.