Computer Associates simplifies SAN design

Acquires Netreon assets

By Heidi Biggar

Computer Associates officials say that its acquisition of key assets of Netreon, a provider of storage area network (SAN) software, will be instrumental in furthering CA's vision of end-to-end storage management.

Over the past few months, CA has introduced a variety of storage management software products, including BrightStor SAN Manager and BrightStor Portal, which is the management interface that will eventually provide users with a single view of BrightStor storage environments. A new release of BrightStor SRM (storage resource management) is expected this summer.

"The idea is to be able to manage the storage environment without boundaries," says Gary McGuire, CA's senior vice president, BrightStor Solutions. To do that, you need to be able look at the entire storage life cycle, which includes designing, deploying, tracking, monitoring, and changing the storage architecture, explains McGuire.

Rather than using a variety of point products to manage the five disparate storage management processes, Computer Associates recommends tightly integrated products. This allows for storage implementation and usage to be treated and viewed as a continuous life cycle, the company claims.

Because key storage information is passed automatically—not manually—from process to process, McGuire says the storage environment is easier to manage and less costly (because it requires fewer administrators).

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A variety of other vendors, including BMC Software, EMC, Fujitsu Softek, Hewlett-Packard, InterSAN, Legato, and Veritas, are also integrating point products into unified storage management suites.

Realizing its goal

Analysts say that the acquisition of Netreon's SANex Designer software takes Computer Associates one step closer to realizing its end-to-end management goal, and maybe even a step ahead of some of its competitors—at least in the design aspect of SAN management.

"This is a great acquisition for Computer Associates," says Carolyn DiCenzo, chief analyst, storage management software, at Gartner. "It not only automates the way most users design SANs today, but it also compares the design to the actual implementation."

The SAN design software can also be used for troubleshooting purposes. In such instances, BrightStor SAN Manager discovers the SAN environment and then uses SANex Designer to compare the current SAN to the last stable design state.

"The Netreon product allows BrightStor SAN Manager, which otherwise is relatively basic and not yet competitive with other products, to actually jump ahead in one aspect [i.e., design] of SAN management," says DiCenzo.

Computer Associates plans to introduce the Netreon software as a BrightStor-branded product within 60 days. The software is expected to be fully integrated with BrightStor SAN Manager by year-end.

This article was originally published on March 01, 2003