Storage is a field that’s growing exponentially every year. According to Rob Soderbery of Symantec, storage growth is being driven by two factors: consumer-generated content and regulatory compliance. However, storage utilization remains low—30 percent to 40 percent. Organizations are using more storage than ever, but they’re using it ineffectively.
Storage challenges stem from several areas. One is the complexity related to running multiple platforms. Even small IT shops commonly run Windows, Linux, and UNIX. Having multiple platforms, storage arrays, and storage networking technologies can make your environment very difficult to manage. Another problem is that many tools don’t give administrators a complete picture of their environment. Instead, they focus on managing individual elements. This method makes it difficult for IT administrators to demonstrate which infrastructure supports which applications—which in turn makes it difficult to show how your IT budget is allocated.
Symantec’s approach to solving some of these storage problems is a business initiative called Storage United. This strategy focuses on using a single set of tools to manage and support all of a customer’s platforms, storage arrays, applications, and databases. Symantec’s storage management tool is CommandCentral Storage 5.0. This product can discover your entire storage infrastructure, to help you create a topology map and determine how your assets are being utilized. Once you have that complete picture and you understand how your resources are allocated, you can make changes to increase storage utilization. According to Soderbery, there’s no reason that you can’t double your storage utilization, which is a big savings for an IT-intensive shop.
CommandCentral Storage 5.0 has a new module, called Process Automation Manager, that helps you improve your operations by capturing your processes and letting you manage or administer them with a drag-and-drop style interface. Another new module, called Enterprise Reporter, lets you build reports by business unit, application, or data center.
What sets Symantec’s solution apart, Soderbery says, is comprehensive support for virtualization, increased scalability (a single copy of CommandCentral Storage running on one management server can support as many as 3,000 hosts), and the core storage resource management capabilities that Process Automation Manager and Enterprise Reporter provide. The ultimate goal in managing storage is to run it as a service that aligns with your business. Symantec’s Storage United initiative and CommandCentral Storage tool try to help you achieve that goal.