Symantec has announced a major refresh of its storage resource management (SRM) software, after including advanced virtualisation and replication features in a new version of Veritas CommandCentral Storage.

Veritas CommandCentral Storage 5.0 runs on Windows, Linux, AIX, Solaris or HP-UX host computers, and is being enhanced to include monitoring of VMware virtual machines, and storage environments virtualised with IBM’s SAN Volume Controller or Hitachi Data Systems’ TagmaStore array, giving IT administrators the ability to manage storage capacity at an application level in virtual environments.

Version 5.0 analyses storage consumption in physical and virtual heterogeneous environments and identifies storage that is unassigned and can be reclaimed. The company says the software allows organisations to increase storage utilisation levels by as much as 40 percent.

The software monitors VMWare ESX host computers and virtual machine instances and storage capacity allocated to them. It monitors capacity by the amount allocated, claimed and utilised. For SAN Volume Controller and the TagmaStore array, CommandCentral monitors the allocated, unclaimed and claimed storage capacity and usage by Fibre Channel ports. It discovers the allocation of storage to servers and provides capacity reporting.

Dan Trim, manager of operations and technical service for Health Alliance Plan in Detroit, has used CommandCentral Storage for about four years.

“When we initially started looking at products to do storage management, the biggest problem was having a storage-area network with multiple vendors, finding software that managed all that storage was difficult,” says Trim, who has IBM Enterprise Storage Server 800, Hitachi Data Systems 9580V and AMS100 and storage arrays from JMR Electronics’ ORCA Storage System. The Symantec product works with a wider variety of storage arrays and host computers, he says.

The new version of CommandCentral Storage will also monitor and manage the local and remote replication of data by EMC products such as Symmetrix Remote Data Facility, Clariion SnapShot, SnapView and MirrorView, as well as by NetApp SnapMirror and Hitachi Shadow Image.

The company has also introduced two new modules. One of them, dubbed Enterprise Reporter, provides business insight and a global view into the storage infrastructure, and lets IT make customised queries of the environment.

“Probably the biggest feature from a management standpoint is CommandCentral's ability to create ad hoc reporting, because information is obviously golden for capacity planning, for quantifying performance, and for quantifying overall in-house capacity and how it stacks up against requirements,” says Trim. “It also gives us the ability to show how we are using the storage and the utilisation we are getting out of it. Those are all huge pieces in our forward motion to support our business.”

The other new module, Process Automation Manager, reduces manual tasks and allows IT to standardise their storage management processes and implement consistent operational policies.

The new version of CommandCentral Storage also can be used to handle bigger IT environments: It will support as many as 6,000 host computers, 6PB of storage capacity and 12,000 Fibre Channel switch ports.

The new version is compliant with the Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S) 1.1 and supports Fujitsu, 3PAR, HP’s Enterprise Virtual Array, IBM System Storage DS4x00 array and NetApp iSCSI devices.

CommandCentral Storage competes with HP’s Storage Essentials, EMC’s ControlCenter and IBM’s Tivoli Storage Manager.

The Veritas CommandCentral 5.0 product family is licensed per server and is available now (except for Enterprise Reporter, which is scheduled to be generally available in the next 60 days). Typically, 50 servers would cost $15,000 to $30,000 for each module.