From my perspective as someone who has watched the progression of heterogeneous storage resource management (SRM) solutions first-hand, it’s really exciting to have a front-row seat to this breakthrough product.
The need for heterogeneous device support
The fact is, few enterprise IT environments use only a single vendor storage solution. Sure, such homogeneity would be ideal, but it’s not always the reality. Most companies use storage from multiple vendors, possibly to avoid lock-in, or because they’re in transition, adding new storage at the same time as maintaining the legacy storage environment. IT operations teams need to retain specialized knowledge about how to manage multiple storage platforms, as well as additional sets of native tools. The same goes for organizations with both a centralized data center and remote locations, which can also lead to mixed environments and challenges with consolidating monitoring and reporting.
SOM supports legacy storage environments and at the same time enables you to discover and manage the latest multi-vendor storage infrastructure, with unified reporting and monitoring all from a single pane of glass. What’s more, its “device bundle” architecture allows for delivery of off-cycle device support and enhancements, ensuring that it can quickly adapt as your environment changes.
A Brief History of SRM
SOM is the next evolution in a long heritage of HP SRM solutions, going back to the 1999 acquisition of Transoft Networks Inc. and its SANMAN solution, the foundation of the modular HP OpenView Storage Area Manager Suite (OVSAM), which introduced the concept of Device Plug-ins (DPIs) to enable device support updates via the web. Later, OVSAM enhanced HP Systems Insight Manager v5 by enabling support for standards-based storage discovery via SMI-S. Then came the partnership and later acquisition of AppIQ and development of the award winning HP Storage Essentials Enterprise Edition SRM platform.
Over the last decade, many storage vendors have moved their primary focus away from supporting heterogeneous environments, instead building tools for their own storage portfolios. And customers have frequently chosen to develop their own custom tools in-house to allow them to manage and report on the unique blend of storage devices in their environment.
“SRM has not gained wide acceptance, due partly to past failures and to customers that still prefer to create their toolsets…Many organizations prefer to use native tools for an array or to create their own reporting systems, rather than purchasing and using SRM software tools to manage storage and data.”
Built to make SRM easy
So what’s different this time?
With HP Storage Operations Manager, HP completely re-architected its solution, building on the robust and highly scalable Network Node Manager i (NNMi) framework, inheriting important benefits such as an intuitive UI, extensive dashboards, and policy-based continuous discovery. They further enhance the offering by combining it with a powerful data warehouse and customizable reporting solution via the bundled HP Service Health Reporter (SHR).
SOM has embraced customer feedback and learned from the lessons of the past. For example, policy-based data collection based on freshness criteria means an administrator does not need to spend time managing discovery schedules. Data collection done on a per-device basis limits any impact due to misbehaving devices, and greatly simplifies any related troubleshooting. A focus on agentless management greatly simplifies deployment, and with less time dedicated to managing the tool, SOM can deliver a much lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).
From the bottom up, SOM is built to make SRM easy. It can typically be installed in less than 20 minutes and begin reporting within about 3 hours.
No need to wait
But what I think really sets SOM apart is how it draws from capabilities of the products that came before it. The plug-in “device bundle” architecture, for example, delivers off-cycle device support. Much like OVSAM’s DPIs, new devices and enhancements to existing devices can be added to SOM without a waiting for a major release. We even have folks looking into a plan to expose an SDK for device bundles, which could allow development by partners, services and customers to add or extend device support.
As someone who has followed the growing pains of SRM through much of my career, it’s exciting to see it come of age with Storage Operations Manager.
About the author: Wiley Thrasher delivers consulting and support for HP Storage solutions as a member of the HP Storage Utility Development Unit (UDU) Applied Technology Center (ATC) “Tiger Team”. Wiley has over 15 years of experience working with Fibre Channel SANs, networked storage, and storage resource management software solutions.