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IBM Offers Customers A Way To Exploit Storage

Customers can test software that tracks capacity levels and helps them make efficient use of infrastructure.
Even in this age of storage networking, many customers still waste a lot of money on storage infrastructure. Incorrectly, it rides a server into the data center, managers bulk up because they dare not run low, or companies buy enough storage for peak loads but much of it sits idle for up to 10 months of the year.

While studies highlight 50% usage, customers who've taken the time to measure it bring that number down to about 20% utilization. On Friday, customers can start trying out software products that could make their storage infrastructures more efficient and eventually lead them to new levels of management. They can check in at 161 IBM Total Storage Solution Centers today and take storage-resource management software for tests; if they don't want it near term, they can turn it back in.

The software includes intelligence IBM gained from the acquisition of TrelliSoft earlier this fall. With it, customers can keep track of the capacity levels of their storage systems and make even, efficient use of the storage infrastructure. IBM has lots of competition for that capability, including Computer Associates and Veritas Software Corp. But IBM's storage-resource management suite will include a single system view, the availability of extra capacity during peak times, performance measurement, and asset management.

According to an industry analyst, TrelliSoft alone brings IBM file-level management, backup planning and analysis, and capacity planning. But Jamie Gruener at the Yankee Group says customers could ultimately gain access to real high-level functions, though it might take them some time. "Ultimately, customers can charge back departments for capacity usage," he says. "But it's two to four years away, because, for example, customers have to figure out how much they charge for capacity."

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