Let’s first take a look at what storage management software is. According to NTP Software’s white paper, network administrators spend a lot of their time dealing with storage management tasks such as “manually compiling information, writing scripts, analyzing disks and partitions and managing users over and over again, without gaining any leverage.”
One of my favorite jobs one summer was helping a company add users to its content management system. It wasn’t a hard process — just adding names and email addresses along with which market they worked in. However, just as NTP suggests, managing users over and over again was quite tedious, especially when it was an off-shoot of what I did the other 7.5 hours of the work day.
NTP says “specialized software is available to automate these tasks and help network administrators prevent problems. This software can monitor and limit use, highlight potential concerns and provide storage administrators and management alike with an enterprise-wide view of their operations.”
The white paper also mentions that some of the overall benefits of using storage management software are time savings, which enable everyone in the organization to focus on something other than those tasks — like growing the business and keeping costs down.
Small companies may not need this, and a large company with storage hardware from a well-known vendor may not need third-party support.
However, if you have decided this course of action is right for you, there are lots of ways to go about finding the right software for your business. Virtualization Review wrote a great article about what to look for. Here are a few of their suggestions:
- Hardware considerations – make sure the software doesn’t make you pay for capabilities you already have at the hardware level. The author says the hardware features will be better.
- Key features – being able to see all of the storage hardware through a single, unified management console (if that is what you need to do). Larger organizations might benefit from a third-party.
- Reporting – the software’s reports you get are useful to your operation, meaning you get out of it what you need.
- Flexibility – go for software that doesn’t box your administrator in by a stringent set of rules and alerts.
For those looking for a free, open-sourced option, check out ComputerWorld’s list of resources.
After looking through all of this, hopefully, it will be easier to determine if your business needs storage management software.
Photo credit: NapInterrupted via Flickr