IBM pushes new storage management suite

FRAMINGHAM (03/09/2004) - IBM Corp. Tuesday announced a new storage software suite that it said at least partially fulfills a utility computing strategy allowing storage servers and networking devices to be monitored and allocated on demand based on preset policies.

The suite, called IBM TotalStorage Productivity Center, offers storage device discovery, monitoring and provisioning. IBM competitors, such as EMC Corp. and Veritas Software Corp., have also recently released similar products based on a utility computing strategy.

Mike Fisch, an analyst at The Clipper Group in Wellesley, Mass., said IBM has moved closer to its utility computing goal, but still lacks in-depth integration with other vendors' hardware.

"It's like a jigsaw puzzle and they're throwing all these pieces out on to the table. It's hard for us as consumers ... to put it all together and understand how it fits," Fisch said. "It does fit somewhat, and they are taking some good steps toward realizing this vision."

TotalStorage Productivity Center combines two pre-existing applications -- Tivoli SAN Manager and Tivoli Storage Resource Manager -- with a new device discovery tool called Tivoli Multiple Device Manager.

Jeff Barnett, manager of market strategy for IBM's software division, said TotalStorage Productivity Center offers a central point of control for storage administrators to manage hardware, monitor storage networks and analyze performance.

Barnett said Tivoli Multiple Device Manager is designed around the Storage Networking Industry Association's Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S), a set of common models and application programming interfaces that will allow storage management applications to communicate with multivendor storage devices.

IBM said the new software suite will work with its Enterprise Storage Server, known as Shark, and its FASt line of arrays, as well as its SAN Volume Controller virtualization software. IBM said the new product also supports some functionality on Hitachi Data Systems Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. arrays.

"This bring us closer to an end-to-end storage management capability," Barnett said. "Hierarchal storage management is dead and buried. But it's been resurrected today with the notion that it's now (information life-cycle management)."

IBM said TotalStorage Productivity Center starts at US$5,000, which will provide users with two server licenses and 1TB of managed storage, as well as the Tivoli SAN Manager application set up for a maximum of 64 switch ports.

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