Drill for data with application storage management tool

Meredith B. Derby, Assistant News Editor

A storage file is full, unstored data has nowhere to go, and nobody knows about it. That's a common scenario for an IT administrator who manages enterprise storage system information, because discovering which files are near or over capacity is a time-consuming task. Making short work of storage resource management may be easier, however, thanks to Houston, TX-based BMC Software's Application-Centric Storage Management (ACSM) suite. Discover how the ACSM product is used in Windows environments and its benefits for enterprise storage managers in this searchWindowsManageability interview with BMC's Rich Fomin, senior product manager.

sWM: Why do enterprises need BMC's ACSM suite?

Ninety-nine percent of the shops BMC deals with have more than one operating system. They need to manage with a single pane of glass. Until now, nobody has been able to drill through the stack from an application perspective and take a from a file view, map the I/O path from the files all the way back to the actual physical array, even down to the actual physical spindle the data is stored on. As a host-based product ACSM is very portable and can be integrated with all of our other tools.

sWM: How does the BMC Application-Centric Storage Management

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suite make it easier to manage storage resources?

ACSM is a set of four core products. One monitors individual storage devices and takes all that device-level information and renders that to a topological view to show all the connectivity type information. Then the storage resource management tool shows all the attributes of the host from a storage perspective, relating them back to the actual physical attributes. From one single pane of glass, the host is seen, and you can drill through the file system, see how it relates to the logical volumes and then relate that back to the I/O paths and the actual storage array.

At the fourth and highest layer is Application Storage Resource Manager, which takes the storage attributes of a particular application, translates them into storage and allows you to map all the different attributes of that application from a storage perspective back through that whole stack. All of our architecture is based on the BMC PATROL solution.

sWM: How can users evaluate whether it's worth the cost?

The ACSM solution delivers value quickly through reclaimed disk space, higher availability of applications via more available storage, higher performance, and improved utilization of IT staff. Because the ACSM solution fully supports direct-attached and networked attached storage, the customer can make one investment in storage management tools to handle today's dominant configuration (direct-attached) and tomorrow's (networked).

sWM: Does the suite give real-time numbers for disk I/O activity?

They're near-time numbers. We collect the data on the polling frequency that the user defines. The user can poll every thirty seconds, every five minutes, every hour. It's really up to the customer how frequently he wants to maintain that database.

sWM: What is the biggest barrier to your success?

There are no barriers to success. BMC's ACSM solution was architected and built to offer value in all storage configurations for both distributed and mainframe environments. Unlike other storage management solutions that are SAN-only, BMC's solution is not dependent on one storage configuration or another. Further, our partner program enables cooperation from all key storage vendors including Fibre Channel and I-SCSI SAN vendors. BMC is already active with two Infiniband vendors, Vieo and Lane15. Our architecture is modular, extensible and benefits with each improvement in PATROL.

sWM: How would a customer decide which products to buy?

Some customers are just buying our SRM tool and solving what's allocated and who's using what. We will sell just SRM and the topology manager individually. There's really only one prerequisite for the Application Storage Manager product. We require SRM as a base to map the files back through the logical host requirements.

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