HP, Symantec SRM wares hit on discovery, inventory tasks

Both could use some work to deliver more advanced storage management features.

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The variety and flexibility of reporting tools, trend analysis and setting of alerts is enough to support pretty much any desired task, including chargeback and storage reporting and management. For instance, you can set up a group containing all the users in a department and then identify how much storage each department uses, so that you can bill each department in the organization for its share of the cost of storage.

Like Storage Essentials, CommandCentral Storage supports role-based administrative user accounts, so accounts can be easily transferred from one administrator to another. Therefore, one administrator can be assigned administrative rights over only the portion of a storage array available to a given server, for instance, so that local administrators can handle storage for their servers without needing access to the rest of the SAN.

Conclusion

Both of these products will appeal to SAN administrators. Each has characteristics that an administrator may consider to be pros or cons, depending on their needs. For example, HP's more cumbersome multiproduct installation makes initial setup harder, but the dedicated Oracle database can be run on a different system than the data collector, making the system more scalable than the Symantec system.

Likewise, the Symantec system requires more manual configuration to use SNMP and to enable management of some products, but this system also allows administrators to manage systems that aren't directly supported via an API. HP has a complex pricing system that takes into account the number of devices and applications managed and the number of terabytes of storage managed, while Symantec bases pricing on number of servers, with additional costs for some features.

Either of these products can be installed and configured to inventory a SAN, manage devices, send alerts and create reports, and should quickly recoup the cost of the software in savings of administrator time over the old spreadsheet inventory system and 18 management applications.

Harbaugh is a freelance writer and consultant with 20 years of systems administration and testing experience. He can be reached at logan@lharba.com.

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