Storage Software: One-stop Management

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

In 2001, the University of California (Berkley, USA) study had stated that

while it has taken the mankind 300,000 years to accumulate 12 exabytes of

information, it would take just 2.5 years to accumulate the next 12! Believe it

or not, says Bithin Talukdar, manager with HP India, there will be more data

created in the next three years (57 million terabytes) than the entire data

created in the past 40,000 years. "And how much is 57 million terabytes? It

is 15 times of all of the spoken words that have ever existed since the

beginning of time," he adds.


Indeed, the past few years have seen a hitherto unheard amount of data

creation not only in the business world but also in other areas of activity.

Data-intensive applications like ERP and CRM among others, Internet web content,

large databases, and enterprise data warehouses and data marts, have been in

turn creating the need for a mind-boggling storage capacity in enterprises. Also

driving the need for storage is the growing mass of digitized reference

information and legal retention requirements. "Market trends show that the

need to store information for future reference is growing at a fast rate,"

says PK Gupta, director, Legato Systems India. He cites the case of health

records of patients that need to be stored for their lifetime. And as

information and knowledge has become the key to the success of all businesses,

data, next to employees, has emerged as the second most valuable asset of an

organization. The data that is stored today could pay dividend over the years

and would be key to the achievement of an organization’s business goals.

An Efficient Storage Software Should...

Enables mobility, allowing easy migration of data, by demand or policy, between logical and physical locations
Innocuous, allowing transparent expansion
Behaves elastically, allowing expansion and contraction without application interruption
Perform persistently, always-on always-available until it is removed from management control
Operate securely, where data is protected from unauthorized access
Be economical, where the total cost of management decreases as storage sizes increase
Be responsive, so that performance service level parameters are met
Instant visibility, so that authorized users have access to data, regardless of the storage infrastructure
Deliver automation, thus reducing the chances of failure due to workmanship or other such administrative issues of managing large amounts of data

Source: HP India

According to the research firm Gartner, "Since 1996, most enterprises

have been adding storage capacity at a rate that exceeds 30 percent per

year". Interestingly, Gartner says, the slowing of the economy has not

eliminated the need for more capacity. The research firm observes that more

important than the capacity increase, the information in its multitude of forms

has become more mission-critical, even for applications previously not thought

of as mission critical (for example, e-mail). All this has naturally put a lot

of pressure on organizations to maintain storage performance and availability

and to better manage investments in storage capacity.


Storing diverse kinds of data is one challenge, a 24/7 easy access and

availability of that data is another. Whether one stores data on disk or tape,

adds NAS or builds SAN, what is important is that the stored data is managed

properly and is easily accessible and available to users whenever there is a

need. Managing data becomes all the more challenging in a network environment

that is homogenous and simple. These environments often include large number of

servers with attached storage and a growing number of servers sharing storage

over a SAN. It is in this context that organizations today, face increasingly

difficult challenges in managing rapidly growing enterprise-wide storage

resources in heterogeneous networks. Companies in almost every industry, ranging

from insurance and health-care to retailing, to digital content creation, to

telecom service operations, are experiencing explosive growth in their

requirements for information storage capacity.

Gone are the days when there was no way out except for managing storage


Bithin Talukdar manager with

HP India

“More data will be created in the next three years than that got created in the past 40,000 years.”


Manual management is not only time-consuming, but also a cumbersome process

with no guarantee of efficiency and availability. Network administrators had to

go through manually compiling information, writing scripts, analyzing disks,

partitions, and managing users and still getting no where. That was then.

Today, enterprise storage requirements are too complex to be handled

manually. These complex requirements are driving the need for centralized

storage management tools that can simplify the management of stored data, reduce

storage costs, optimize resources and improve overall efficiency and usage of

storage resources.

While storage hardware remains a key component of all storage solutions,

storage management software is vital for managing decentralized IT assets,

maintaining high availability, and minimizing downtime. Software is a critical

component of an enterprise data storage strategy, giving businesses the ability

to better leverage their IT resources, including employee time.


PK Gupta director, Legato Systems India

“The need to store information for future reference is growing at a fast rate,”

Time saving for both network administrators and users is indeed one of the

key benefits of deploying storage management software. For example, every

organization needs to delete certain files at certain periodicity; in a manual

environment, this could mean hassling and reminding users time and again to

delete files. On the other hand, an empowered software solution can delete files

automatically when they are not needed. Also, as Agendra Kumar, country manager,

Veritas Software Solutions, points out, software solutions help manage data

volume more cost-effectively and efficiently. "By managing volume properly,

we can save on disks. Usually, the space utilized in disks is 40-50 percent.

Through software one can achieve 80 percent space utilization and this way save

on disk costs," he says.

Arun Rao,

National manager, CA

“Features like manageability and scalability are essential in storage software solutions.”


Gartner Dataquest defines storage management software as the tool needed to

manage capacity, performance and availability of data stored on disks, tapes and

optical devices and the networking devices that those data may pass through.

According to IDC, storage software includes three major categories–backup

and archives software, storage replication software, and storage resource

management software. The latest IDC report on Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan)

storage software market states that though the market for backup and archive

software grew 32 percent year-on-year from 2000-01, its share of the storage

software spending dropped from 43 percent of the total market to 38 percent.

Instead, storage replication software and storage resource management was the

growth leader and formed approximately half of the spending on storage software

in 2001.

Agendra Kumar country manager Veritas Software Solutions

“Through software one can achieve 80 percent space utilization and thus save on disk costs.”


No doubt today, there are specialized software solutions available that not

only help automate complex tasks, but also monitor enterprise storage

performance and warn of potential problems on a 24/7 basis. However, as storage

users become increasingly concerned with the simplicity and manageability of

their storage solutions, interoperability emerges as the key concern for them. Customers

require a single, easy-to-use software application that simplifies the many

tasks required to support a heterogeneous network. Today, an enterprise network

typically has several servers running different types of operating systems,

storage systems, and workstations, making storage management a difficult task in

these environments. In a typically heterogeneous storage environment in an

organization, storage management can be a costly affair facing the enterprise.

"Every storage box, SAN switch, host bus adapter, router, NAS and other

storage devices come with their own management software. It is the same for

backup and recovery, replication and other storage management software,"

points out T Srinivasan, country manager, EMC. Hence, the need for storage

management software that is hardware agnostic, and provides a centralized view

across the heterogeneous environment, he adds.

T Srinivasan country manager, EMC

“Every storage device has its own management software. Same for backup, recovery, replication and other storage management software,”

Arun Rao, national manager, Computer Associates, India, says

interoperability, seamless integration with the existing technology, compliance

with established standards and as well as ability to scale to protect the

emerging technologies in the future must be kept in mind for any storage

software purchase. "Manageability, scalability, reliability, security and

availability, these are basic inherent features of data storage software

solutions that an enterprise should consider," he stresses.


However, have enterprises really got a true choice when it comes to

interoperable and open-standard storage management software? Software vendors

wouldn’t say ‘No’. However, the fact is that interoperable solutions are

still at least a few months away.

Let Your Vendor Answer These...
CxOs and IT heads need to answer the following questions before they can come up with a comprehensive need analysis of the storage software requirements.
What impact does non-availability have on your users?
What is the cost of changing your storage configuration? What processes do you use to add or change storage configurations? How long does it take to make the change? How does that affect your user and customers?
How do you manage data access?
How do you plan for storage growth and usage? What is causing this? What projections do you have for storage growth this year?
What cost has been incurred due to loss of data or unauthorized access? What caused this?
What processes do you use to detect bottlenecks on the network? What impact do these bottlenecks have on your business?
How do you detect capacity short falls? How do these short falls affect your organization?
How effectively are you using your storage devices? If you could improve the utilization of your storage devices, how would it affect your budget?
How do you forecast capacity growth?
What impact would centralized management have on your organization?
How much of your budget is dedicated to data protection?
How is data important to your business?
What are the costs of system downtime?
If your data is not available 24X7, what impact does it have on your business?
How fast are data volumes growing? Have they outpaced your percentages for headcount and budget? What impact will it have on your organization? What has caused the data volumes to grow?

Admitting that storage software solution vendors are yet to come out with a

truly interoperable and standardized solution, Legato’s Gupta says, an

enterprise could benefit immensely if it can standardize storage on one

platform. However, despite software vendors trying to promote open standards and

interoperability, it is a fact that users are yet to see a solution that could

merge all network storage into one. Talukdar of HP too, admits that most of the

storage management products are proprietary or they are not able to cover all

the available hardware because of different standards depending on the supplying

hardware vendor. "The current challenge is to move storage management

software products into an open manageable environment, covering as much

different hardware as possible," he points out.

While storage software vendors still need to work out the interoperability

issues, they have made quite a progress in meeting the other key challenge

facing an enterprise storage system–that of security. It is important that

storage management software tools secure the data they manage. Fortunately, many

vendors today offer solutions that can help organizations to deploy security on

their storage systems. For example, many software offerings allow the

administrator to assign every component in the storage system to a defined

storage domain or multiple domains, if desired, each with a different password.

For example, every organization has a variety of information and data, and free

access to all of them may not be desirable to all users. Software solutions can

help network administrators keep engineering, accounting and e-commerce

information ‘partitioned’ from each other to prevent inadvertent misuse or

corruption of files.

Ravi Shekhar Pandey

Trends that Will Drive the Storage Management Software Market

Latest research from IDC has noted a 74 percent increase in the storage management software market in India, from $8.5 million in 2000 to $14.8 million in 2001. This market will be fuelled by the development of Internet data centers (IDCs), the greater awareness of the need for data recovery solutions, opening up of banking and insurance sectors, and demand for 24x7x365 business continuance. Talking about the key market trends beyond the year 2002, a market research company suggests that the demand for storage management software will be triggered off by the drop in prices for storage devices, which is expected to stimulate the purchasing cycle. Also, large enterprises are expected to improve their business processes by investing in enterprise applications that will encourage demand for storage devices and storage management software.

IDC says that the storage management software market has attracted a significant amount of interest with recent worldwide events and local governments encouraging businesses to invest in disaster-recovery solutions. There is a uniform sustained interest in storage management software solutions, but expectedly growth rates are lower in countries, such as Australia and Singapore, where purchasing of storage capacity and management software have been integrated into normal business IT practices and budgets over the years. 

As for vendor standing, according to IDC, in the Asia-Pacific region EMC topped the overall storage software market, almost doubling its revenue base between 2000 and 2001, to reach a market share of 33 percent. Veritas and Computer Associates followed behind in close succession to each other, with market shares of 15 and 10 percent, respectively. IDC states that strong growth rates were recorded by Veritas (56 percent) and Legato (55 percent), as well as StorageTek (61 percent) and Sun Microsystems (67 percent), albeit from a smaller revenue base. Looking forward, IDC says, the competition in the market will become more intense, particularly from these two players, who have both cited storage software as a key focus area from 2002 onwards.