The lowdown on storage management software

What is it? Storage management software covers a gamut of functionality, from disaster recovery, to storage provisioning, to backup monitoring. With the Office of Management and Budget and others requiring agencies to develop detailed continuity-of-operations plans, storage management software is seen as a critical factor in ensuring agency compliance.

What's new? Experts say the software is getting better about backup reporting, whether as part of an integrated suite or in taking information from an interoperable enterprise backup platform. Clustering and automatic failover features have become more important, and integration with other network management platforms helps ease overall IT management burdens.

What about interoperability? The Storage Networking Industry Association recently extended its Storage Management Initiative Specification to software products to ensure interoperability with storage systems. Currently nine software vendors have SMI-S certification: AppIQ, Computer Associates, Crosswalk, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi Data Systems, IBM, Sun Microsystems and Veritas Software (now Symantec).

Must-know info? Despite near-term compliance requirements, experts say storage management remains a long-term challenge. It needs to be an integral part of an agency's enterprise architecture. Make sure you know what storage processes you need to have in place before you shop for a tool to manage them.

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