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SAN's Baby Steps

5:00 PM -- How good is your SAN management? If something goes wrong, can you quickly ID the source of the problem -- say, as fast as you could in your IP network?

We thought not. But there's consolation at hand. The problems of making Fibre Channel networks as manageable as their IP counterparts is being tackled by a handful of suppliers, some with serious eyes on the growing demand.

Case in point: CentrePath Networks, which consults with companies looking to build their own optical and storage networks, claims to have increased customer deployments by more than 15 percent to 150 since January 1, 2006, in part by productizing a management system it formerly sold only with its services.

CentrePath claims it has patents pending on the Magellan DataPath Manager, which discovers and correlates the root cause of multiple-event "storms" in storage nets. The vendor says it's worked with Brocade, Cisco, and McData to get detailed info about their switches and directors. It's also tapped into optical gear from ADVA, Ciena, and Nortel, and the package incorporates information from IBM mainframes.

CentrePath is, so far, among one of the few vendors to offer this kind of fault-finding for SANs. But EMC, through its acquisition of Smarts in 2004, has thrown its hat into the ring with root-cause analysis of its IP-based NAS devices. (See EMC Smartens Its NAS.) Sadly, though, EMC has yet to extend Smarts' IP-based analysis into the Fibre Channel arena.

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