In what the company describes as a bid to increase the options of IBM mainframe users, Sterling Software Inc has unveiled details of a new storage management strategy and product range. Planning initially to upgrade its existing DMS/OS data management and VAM disk volume allocation offerings, Sterling claims both products will offer full Data Facility Product, DFP, and Enterprise Systems Architecture compatibility by next spring, to coincide with the arrival of Version 3.1 of IBM’s DFP Data Facility. Even without upgrading, Sterling UK technical support manager Steve Busby believes we can offer the functionality today that IBM plans to offer in a year’s time. The basis for this argument appears to lie in Sterling’s unique warning light or report generating facilities. Supplementing the rules which, once resident in the system, automate and optimise data storage procedures, Sterling’s current range includes an element which sends periodic reports up to the storage administrator. These can then be scanned, explains Busby, to ensure that the rules that have been set are producing the best possible results for the company. Once the planned upgrading has been achieved, the two products will be combined into a freestanding storage management system, designed for both ESA and non-ESA environments. This principle will also be incorporated into new product developments, providing many users with a further disincentive to moving over to ESA, Sterling reckons. New offerings, declares Busby, will be equipped with intelligence, a storage management database, and colour graphics reporting capabilities – do you really want to see how your data is arranged on disk in glorious Technicolor? Essentially rule-based in nature, storage management products already offer a degree of intelligence; most administrators already retrieve data files by name. According to Busby, however, artificial intelligence-based products will eventuallly implement an increasing number of standard decisions, automatically transferring, for example, additional data pools to a pool that is running short of space. On the database front, Busby describes the projected offering as a flexible tool: by using it, adminstrators will be able to update, report on, cross reference and generally keep track of rules, he explains. Current histogram-type graphics will be expanded to provide colour mapping capabilities, while the current Tracs family of bulk transfer or connectivity software will be upgraded to a point where all corporate data can be managed from a central point and archived to a secure, hard disk, medium. Although unwilling to be specific, Busby indicates that delivery of the new offerings – to be marketed under the generic name of Corporate Storage Management – is set for early next year.