Evaluating SRM

The Agriculture Department has a job ahead of it.

As part of the USDA's Service Center modernization program, officials hope to pull together storage resources spread across two major data centers, three data warehouses and other repositories. The objective is to make storage part of a managed architecture. The USDA's Enterprise Data Storage Architecture procurement is the vehicle for doing so.

One piece of that procurement is storage management software, according to Dave Anderson, data team leader for the USDA's Service Center modernization initiative. An award is expected soon.

In that respect, the USDA is closer to fielding software than most agencies. Window-shopping tends to be the rule when it comes to storage resource management (SRM). Exceptions exist, however. Paul Smith, vice president of government operations at Veritas Software, says the Air Force Materiel Command has purchased the company's SANpoint Control management software.

For those still evaluating software, Ron Lovell, storage practice leader at consulting firm Greenwich Technology Partners Inc., has a few nuggets of advice.

He said SRM tools should include workflow capability and integrate easily into such management frameworks as Computer Associates International Inc.'s Unicenter and Hewlett-Packard Co.'s OpenView. Multivendor support is another consideration.

Buyers "should be looking at the relationships the SRM tool vendors have with various hardware vendors to make sure they have access to [application program interfaces] and other interface points," Lovell said.

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