Onaro updates SAN automation tools

Onaro has brought out version 4 of SANscreen, its software for extending IT service management (ITSM) and data centre automation to networked storage.

The new version adds the ability to do capacity and provisioning management, plus software called VM Insight, which adds support for virtual servers.

The five-year-old company claimed that while SRM (storage resource management) tools have evolved to handle data and file management, there is as yet no equivalent of ITSM to provide infrastructure and service-level configuration information for storage.

SANscreen’s strengths include its change control, service monitoring and SAN optimization capabilities, claimed Bryan Semple, Onaro’s marketing VP. He said that automated change control is particularly important in data center consolidation projects, which can involve massive numbers of changes in the storage network.

The software works by pulling in configuration data from the SAN, the apps and the storage, and then transforming this into maps of the business services. In this, it’s an analogue to what ITSM tools do for the LAN, tracking what connects to what and the business impact of a specific failure.

For example, if there is an application problem, an admin can use SANscreen to quickly discover which storage subsystem is involved, what route the application takes to its data over the SAN, whether there are known or planned SAN outages, what has been changed recently, and so on.

SANscreen’s capacity and provisioning management capabilities were added to support the increasingly granular approach that organizations are taking to storage, Semple said. For example, a SAN can now have different tiers of storage within the same disk array, with SAS and SATA drives in adjacent rows.

“In our opinion, there’s no storage equivalent of Opsware, OpenView and so on for data centre automation,” he declared. “The huge opportunity is to integrate storage into the rest of the data center team.”

However, Onaro is likely to face strong competition here from Opsware in particular, which bought CreekPath last year in order to add the latter’s Acuity storage automation tool to its existing systems automation software.

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