Connex simplifies SAN management

By Dave Simpson

Last month, Connex released version 1.0 of its SANavigator software, which is designed for managing heterogeneous storage area networks (SANs). The Java-based software will compete with similar products such as Veritas Software's SANPoint Control (see InfoStor, July 2000, p. 1) and Vixel's SAN InSite 2000 (InfoStor, May 2000, p. 11).

From a central console, SANavigator provides discovery, topology, data path zoning, and the ability to launch specific device manufacturer's management software. The software also provides remote monitoring and messaging support via SMTP. The messaging functionality enables administrators to be e-mailed or paged for event notification.

SANavigator automatically discovers devices on a storage network (SAN as well as network-attached storage, or NAS). The SANmap component of the suite then presents a visual map of the storage network that shows all devices and interconnections. From the map, administrators can review configurations and analyze port utilization.

A more full-featured version of SANavigator is due in Q1/Q2 of next year.
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In addition to using SNMP-based SAN management standards such as the FibreAlliance's management information base (MIB), SANavigator uses proprietary MIBs from most of the major hub and switch vendors (Brocade, Gadzoox, McData, QLogic, and Vixel). The software will also be able to use proprietary APIs to get more device- specific information. Host bus adapters supported include those from ConnectCom, Emulex, JNI, and QLogic.

According to Robert Wright, vice president of software engineering, Connex hopes to differentiate SANavigator from Veritas' SANPoint Control in a number of ways, including:

  • A user interface that was designed specifically for SANs.
  • Support for a variety of platforms, including all Windows implementations (98/NT/2000), Solaris, and Linux.
  • Ease of installation. SANavigator does not, for example, require the installation of agent code.

SANavigator may, at least for now, also provide more detailed monitoring. "SANavigator seems to be a more complete offering," says Steve Duplessie, an analyst with the Enterprise Storage Group. "It can build more elaborate drill-down capabilities, and you can get a lot of detail about devices on the SAN."

Prices were not finalized at press time, but according to Wright, pricing will range from approximately $6,000 for a 32-port version to $50,000 for a 1,024-port version.

This article was originally published on October 01, 2000