SANavigator launches 3.0 beta program

San Jose, Calif.-based SANavigator Inc. is this month launching the beta program for its upcoming release of its storage area network (SAN) management software.

SANavigator 3.0 is scheduled to be released in October and the beta program will start in mid-August, so the company is reluctant to publicly release details of the new version of the software. According to Mark Allen, the company’s systems engineering manager, the new version will not look much different than the current 2.0 version, but will have small enhancements over it.

“[This] is a major feature release scheduled for the October timeframe,” Allen said. He declined to comment further on 3.0’s features.

According to Lisa Staalenburg, beta program manager for SANavigator, the beta program for 3.0 will kick off on Aug. 15 and will serve two purposes – to get development feedback and to get quotable reference sites. The beta program will run for eight weeks and the company will meet with each of the testers once a week to discuss the new version. SANavigator’s testing populace is drawn not only from current users but from companies who have not ever used the product.

“We give them certain user cases to try and to test for us,” Staalenburg said. “We try to get a broad range of different types of sites, anywhere from OEMs to labs to end-users so we can get a broad spectrum of different types of SAN applications.”

SANavigator, which was launched originally in September 2000, is an application that allows network managers to plan, discover, configure and monitor a SAN. According to Allen, the tool is capable of going out and discovering everything it can about the SAN, and then gathers all the data in one location and builds a database out of it. The information on the SAN is updated every couple seconds. The application also performs actions when the need arises, such as notifying the network manager if there is a failure in the SAN.

“We allow you to visually see what your SAN is and give you real-time performance data about what the SAN is doing,” Allen said. “That way, you can see bottlenecks and such.” The tool has a graphical user interface (GUI) that draws a “stick figure” representation of what the SAN looks like. SANavigator also offers full support for the Palm Inc. operating system for Palm-brand wireless personal digital assistants (PDAs), such as the Palm VII, Allen said.

According to Bob Zimmerman, director of storage and storage management at Giga Information Group in Cambridge, Mass., there are many SAN management software tools on the market, but most of them only manage a piece of the SAN architecture, not the whole thing.

Although Zimmerman said he is not really familiar with SANavigator itself, he added, “This is very, very much an exploding market opportunity as direct-attached storage is replaced or superseded by network storage.”

According to the company, SANavigator will be available sometime in October. Pricing has not been set. A 15-day trial version of version 2.0 is available for download on the company’s Web site. SANavigator can be found on the Web at