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Creating cohesive storage management

Robert L. Sheier | Oct. 9, 2012
Vendors of storage management tools are moving toward a 'single pane of glass' product that can automatically provision, resize, back up and recover storage across multiple public and private clouds, across systems from different vendors and for virtual machines running hypervisors from multiple vendors.

Other orchestration offerings are, however, limited to certain products or certain parts of the cloud.

CA Server Automation and CA Automation Suite for Clouds integrates with NetApp's OnCommand storage management software to provision NetApp storage for various classes of servers.

Caringo's CloudScaler virtualization layer provides automated, policy-based management -- but only of storage, not virtual machines. Like many other orchestration platforms, it doesn't currently support the block-based storage used in low-cost, multitenant public storage clouds such as Amazon S3, but Caringo is working to offer that in the future.

Storage Automator, a storage service catalog and policy engine from iWave, currently supports only selected EMC and NetApp arrays, although broader support is due this year.

While it's the leader in server virtualization, VMware is working to differentiate itself from competitors such as Microsoft and its Hyper-V offering by "pushing to include more orchestration," says Reichman. With VMware vSphere 5.0, for example, it introduced storage profiles that let users map the capabilities of a storage system to a storage profile, helping to ensure each virtual machine uses the appropriate data store.

This summer, VMware acquired DynamicOps, whose architecture will allow vSphere and infrastructure administrators to model infrastructure services. This will enable the policy, governance and self-service management capabilities in vSphere to be extended to other hypervisors, hardware and clouds, according to a blog post by Ramin Sayar, VMware's vice president and general manager for cloud infrastructure and management.

Storage Management Portals

Don't Try This at Home

Customers pay managed services providers such as NaviSite to mask the complexity of the technology they use. That's why it was worthwhile for NaviSite to devote a "significant amount of work and time" to building its AppCenter portal, says Chris Patterson, a product manager for NaviSite's cloud and hosting services.

NaviSite expanded its R&D team "significantly" to integrate its underlying platforms with AppCenter, he says. The project included coding to the APIs of vendors such as Actifio, which is one of the "disk-to-disk" platforms that NaviSite uses for backup and recovery. "We worked with Actifio to create simple menu options," says Patterson. "So the customer says, 'I want to back up using either this profile or that profile,' and they can see what they've done."

NaviSite has a staff of 30 to 40 people who continually revise AppCenter and add new features to it. "Anyone could write this," Patterson says. "But unless you're a service provider, unless this is something you [must provide], I wouldn't recommend it."


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