MonoSphere extends support for NetApp

By Kevin Komiega

—Fresh on the heels of fleshing out its management software to include enhanced support for EMC environments, MonoSphere has done the same for Network Appliance users with the release of Storage Horizon 3.4, a new version of its capacity planning and management software that includes support for NetApp's Qtree, FlexVol, FlexClone, and Snapshot technologies.

Storage Horizon 3.4 provides users with a unified view of current and projected storage capacity usage, enabling them to streamline the capacity planning process and maximize utilization of existing storage systems.

The enhancements are specifically aimed at improving the management of NetApp filers. For Qtrees, NetApp's storage quota system, Storage Horizon analyzes whether Qtree usage is over-allocated, if the sum of all Qtree allocations is greater than the size of the volume, and which Qtrees are forecasted to exceed critical utilization thresholds.

MonoSphere is also delivering new support for FlexVols, which provide the basis for NetApp's storage virtualization technology by enabling capabilities such as thin provisioning.

According to a recent survey of 249 storage professionals conducted by MonoSphere, 75% of the respondents believe increased utilization of storage hardware is the primary benefit of thin provisioning. However, 77% of those same storage professionals indicated that the increased risk of running out of storage—as well as added management complexity—are major obstacles hampering implementation of thin provisioning.

Thin provisioning creates storage pools that can be shared by multiple users and applications, making it appear that there are significantly more storage resources available than are actually present. Frank Kettenstock, MonoSphere's vice president of marketing, says the risk is that one or more users can actually fill up the allocated space with little or no warning. Adding a tool like Storage Horizon 3.4 can help overcome the barriers to adoption for thin provisioning in NetApp environments, according to Kettenstock.

"What we've seen from customers is that major application owners don't want to go near thin provisioning," Kettenstock says. "Part of the reason is a lack of adequate management tools. Our research shows that 77% of users are more likely to adopt thin provisioning or expand existing implementations if they have a storage capacity management solution. We're trying to help users make the storage pool not too big, but not too small. It's a balancing act."

Storage Horizon has also been enhanced to support NetApp's Snapshot technology, which provides point-in-time copies of file systems. Storage Horizon can determine if a snapshot reserve is effectively sized, when the snapshot usage is greater than snapshot reserve, or when snapshot reserves are projected to run out.

This article was originally published on August 13, 2007