The lowdown on storage management software

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What is it? Storage management software helps streamline management of data through automated processes and, among other things, identifying unused capacity.

What's the key feature? Interoperability matters; the best tools integrate smoothly with other system management software. Look for true support of heterogeneous storage environments. Unless you're a single-vendor shop, you'll need to make sure the software provides more than token support of all the platforms in your network. And don't overlook support for specific applications, such as your e-mail server.

What are the advantages? These tools have automated alerts, reports and storage configuration. 'A single storage administrator can't manage all the reports without automation,' said Mike Spencer, BMC's technical lead for its Mainview products.

8Must-know info? Adherence to standards, particularly SMI-S, will likely determine a product's viability. Also, Gartner Inc. advises that buyers 'pay careful attention to an SRM vendor's ability to execute, because the market is overcrowded and several SRM players likely will not survive.'

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