Legato unveils SAN road map
Last month, Legato Systems launched a three-stage storage area network (SAN) road map backed by an impressive list of partners and buoyed by its January acquisition of Intelliguard Software.
While Legato`s incremental approach toward SAN implementation is not particularly unique, Legato officials and industry analysts agree that Intelliguard`s Celestra server-free backup technology and enhanced products such as NetWorker and SmartMedia differentiate the product.
"What Intelli-guard does is accelerate our road map from delivering SAN solutions this year or next year to delivering some solutions this quarter," says Scott McIntyre, business line manager in Legato`s storage networking area.
"Overall, their vision is a good one," says Anders Lofgren, a senior storage analyst with Giga Information Group in Norwell, MA. "What`s especially good here is that they actually talked about their products and what their plans are with them."
Legato`s plan for its "Information Utility" SAN vision is to sequentially provide more robust levels of data protection, faster and more consistent data availability, and continuous SAN operation to enterprise environments over the next couple years. Officials point out that the NetWorker suite can already help with relatively simple SANs with point-level storage management issues such as improving network management and application availability.
Later this year, as NetWorker gains compliance with the Network Data Management Protocol (NDMP), company officials believe users will be able to better leverage NDMP`s interoperability among divergent file servers and backup solutions, simplifying data management.
By acquiring Intelliguard and its Celestra architecture, the Palo Alto-based Legato obtains server-less backup technology, SAN-based file replication and mirroring, and transparent hierarchical storage management (HSM). Officials also believe Celestra will help address such needs as automated storage management and transparent data protection as SANs grow in size and mature.
Both Legato officials and industry analysts agree that acquiring Intelliguard and having access to the Celestra functionality will help facilitate SAN implementation as well as create market presence and revenue streams. "With Intelliguard, we add size and market presence," says Legato CEO Lou Cole, "and the fact that their technology is available now is key for us and the storage industry."
"From the standpoint of backup, the idea of having a lightweight copy function that can be outboard, and then having an element with application intelligence, is very interesting technology," says Mark Nicolett, research director with the Gartner Group, an IT consulting firm in Stamford, CT.
As of mid-February, 12 vendors expressed interest in embedding Celestra`s copy function, four of which have more immediate plans: Chaparral Technologies plans to embed the function into its SCSI-to-Fibre Channel router; Breece Hill into its tape libraries; Gadzoox Networks into its Denali Fibre Channel switches.
The final step of Legato`s SAN road map is the enhancement of GEMS software to provide automated, self-healing network management. By providing this policy-managed framework in 2000, system administrators are expected to have increased control over all their storage resources.
In addition to its relationships with 3Com, Box Hill, MTI and StorageTek, Legato`s announced new strategic Fibre Channel-related agreements with array vendor Clariion and switch vendors Brocade Communications and Cross-roads Systems. With a road map and partnerships in place, analysts say the onus is on Legato to deliver the goods.
"There are several impressive road maps, but it always comes down to execution," says Nicolett. "In the end, all of this needs to culminate in products that make it easier for the operations people to do their jobs."