Symantec adds storage change management to CommandCentral suite

Cupertino, Calif.-based Symantec Corp. announced Monday enhancements to its storage optimization software suite that include “agentless” capabilities designed to help enterprises simplify deployment and ongoing management of their storage environments.

The Veritas CommandCentral suite’s existing Storage tool, which helps increase storage utilization and demand by mapping storage consumption to business applications, has been updated to include agentless functionality so that in an environment with a centrally managed server, software won’t have to be deployed on additional servers.

While deploying agents can work for some organizations, said Sean Derrington, Symantec’s director of storage management and availability, “many times, organizations don’t want to deploy an extra piece of software unless they have to.”

New to the suite is Storage Change Manager, which according to Derrington, helps organizations proactively identify change in their storage environments that could negatively impact application availability by defining policies to meet business needs. “’Proactive’ is pretty important because historically customers have been looking at events and being reactive to that,” he said.

For instance, Derrington said, when deploying new applications, a policy can be defined to require two connections into the Fibre Channel storage area networks. If there are any fewer than two, it gets flagged as a violation, allowing the organization to make necessary configuration changes ahead of time.

Storage Change Manager, he said, is essentially designed to help organizations understand the “operational and storage infrastructure impact of change in their environment.”

Having both capabilities, storage change management and agentless functionality, in a single platform is useful for environments that entertain a variety of storage hardware, said Derrington, considering that most customers still manage their storage environments with the point tools that came with their particular storage hardware.

In fact, only 30 to 40 per cent of all storage in a business gets utilized by applications, said Derrington, which means that “for every dollar an organization is spending, they’re essentially throwing away 60 cents on the dollar.”

The issue of storage utilization, said Derrington, scales across enterprises of different sizes. “It’s just a question of ‘are we talking hundreds of thousands of dollars or millions of dollars or tens of millions of dollars?’”

According to John Sloan, senior research analyst with London, Ont.-based Info-Tech Research Group Ltd., proper storage resource management has potential for larger enterprises where “storage can be a bit of a mess” given multiple SANs, arrays and other storage hardware from different vendors. “Over time, they have this pile of storage that doesn’t fit together very well,” said Sloan, “so one of the value propositions of consolidating your storage is to increase your utilization, so…you don’t have to buy storage as often.”

However, Sloan advises enterprises looking to deploy storage resource management, like the Veritas CommandCentral suite, to compare the cost of deploying a new technology versus the money saved on not adding new storage to begin with. Storage resource management, said Sloan, “is a fairly pricey option and you don’t know how much you can save until you buy it, because it’s going to tell you how much you’re wasting.”

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