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With the advent of storage arrays from a multitude of
vendors, storage management has started to become a serious issue for many
CIOs. With each new type of solution comes the need for supplementary training
and the addition of more skill sets to the storage support group. Obviously,
this can quickly become a problem, particularly as turnover occurs and new
people need to be hired.

Some vendors have taken notice of this problem and are working
on solutions to address the growing need for infrastructure management software
that spans the enterprise from business applications, the network, and servers to storage management. In particular, IBM and
Sun Microsystems are two vendors that have taken steps to do just this. IBM,
for example, is currently working on porting its SAN management software (SAN Volume
, or SVC) to its BladeCenter server
line. Sun is going the opposite direction by extending its Solaris management
software to its StorEdge
Enterprise Storage Manager
. The end goal: fewer management points. The idea
is simply that the fewer the number of management points, the easier it is to
manage the infrastructure.

Other vendors are not lost in the shuffle, though. In March,
2005, Hewlett-Packard  releases HP Storage
, which integrates with Insight Manager, HP’s across-the-board
server management solution. HP even claims that it will eventually have the
ability to manage its own storage plus
storage from other vendors, including EMC and Hitachi. This is all a part of HP’s so-called
strategy, and is designed to help control the wild storage
growth experienced by many enterprises.

Beyond companies trying to sell their own wares, some
organizations have created groups specifically designed to help drive companies
to improve the storage management burden. Case in point: the SNIA SMI (short
for the Storage Networking Industry Association’s Storage Management
Initiative). In a poll by
SNIA in September of 2003, fully 54% of respondents indicated that they needed
improved storage management tools while 35% indicated that they needed better
management interoperability. In fact, these were the top two issues cited by respondents. With the tools currently under
creation by different vendors, it appears as if they are, in fact, responding
directly to these needs.

And all this is just from the big players in the game.
Smaller players, such as iSCSI upstarts LeftHand and EqualLogic, have developed
very good software just waiting to be picked up in an OEM arrangement with
other hardware vendors. Of course, at present, their solutions manage only
their own devices, but if licensing arrangements expand, the storage management
situation could improve even with these relatively new arrivals to the storage

Overall, storage management is just one part of the
infrastructure management puzzle. Slowly, but surely, vendors are realizing
that companies don’t want dozens of different management products and are
gradually retooling their software offerings to match.