Although the product won't ship until at least this summer, Netreon recently provided a glimpse into the future of Windows 2000-based SAN management with a 'proof of concept' demonstration of directory-based software. The company demonstrated administration of Brocade's SilkWorm 2000 Fibre Channel switches from a standard Microsoft Management Console (MMC) using Active Directory. The Netreon code allows administrators to configure and zone Brocade switches.
For SAN administrators, the potential benefit is simplified SAN management through the use of a standard Windows 2000 management platform, which should lead to lower overall costs -- one of the biggest gating factors to SAN adoption. "Our software will enable SAN administrators to manage their storage networks using familiar tools like MMC and Active Directory," says Adam Au, general manager at Netreon, a subsidiary of Peerless Systems. (Peerless launched Netreon last September.)
The software could also be beneficial in mirrored SAN configurations. "You have to configure mirrored SANs identically," Au explains, "and our software allows you to duplicate a chunk of the directory tree and re-assign that to the mirrored SAN."
At least in its initial release, Netreon's software has limitations, including:
- It works only with Brocade switches, because it leverages Brocade's Fabric Access APIs.
- The software is limited to managing only switches, not the entire SAN (although Au says that total SAN management is a future goal).
- Administrators will still have to use Brocade's management software in conjunction with the Netreon code
The software, which will be part of Netreon's DirectoryPlus product line, is implemented as a directory agent that can run either on a fabric switch or on a Windows 2000 server. Last year, Netreon shipped a directory agent for network-attached storage (NAS) servers - called DirectoryPlus Storage - which is resold by NAS vendors such as Procom. Netreon plans to sell both software packages direct to end users, as well as to OEMs.