CNT Extends SAN Management

Director vendor looks to oversee multisite SAN management

January 27, 2004

3 Min Read
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Computer Network Technology Corp. (CNT) (Nasdaq: CMNT) says two new management software products will help enterprises get control of multisite SANs.

The vendor says inVSN Storage Network Manager gives a graphical SAN view, monitors the status and degradation of SAN gear, and pinpoints problems with storage applications running over various SAN-exension links.

CNT has based inVSN on management products previously sold with its Fibre Channel directors and SAN extension gear. The vendor has combined functions in these existing tools with capabilities formerly offered in its consulting services. The end result is something CNT thinks the market is ready for at last -- namely, an in-depth management system just for SANs, one that gives a detailed view of their performance over MANs and WANs.

It's an approach that CNT and analysts say hasn't quite been carried off before. There are plenty of so-called management frameworks from Computer Associates International Inc. (CA) (NYSE: CA), Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), and IBM Tivoli, which claim to add SAN gear to the kit they can bring under their management umbrellas.

Then there are so-called point products, such as eHealth SAN from Concord Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: CCRD), which monitors the performance of SAN devices and links.But up to now, getting a comprehensive SAN view with plenty of information on the WAN and MAN links has been uncommon, unless a company paid for lots of custom work to link a framework and point products. By putting this into a readymade package, CNT thinks it saves those kinds of costs.

One analyst thinks that's a solid value proposition. "A lot of vendors really have what I'd consider device-level probing on a SAN fabric," says Jamie Gruener, senior analyst at Yankee Group. "Most of the market's focused on overall SAN management, including LUN masking and volume management... CNT appears to have more link data and network performance management."

inVSN won't support all touted features until later this year. There are two versions: inVSN Open Edition, available today for a starting price between $6,000 and $10,000, runs under Windows and manages Fibre Channel SANs running over IP or ATM/Sonet extensions. It supports SANs based on Fibre Channel switches from CNT or its partners, including Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) and McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA).

Unix and mainframe Fibre Channel connections won't come until the second quarter of this year, when CNT releases the inVSN Enterprise Edition, priced between $25,000 and $30,000 to start. That package will also be the first to support mainframe Ficon and Escon links, via CNT's UltraNet Storage Director,

CNT says it will support Fibre Channel switches from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq: QLGC) in the second quarter 2004. It now supports Qlogic HBAs and plans support of Cisco DWDM gear, as well as optical MAN gear from Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT), in the Enterprise Edition.Some question whether the market is ready for CNT's approach. "This is still revolutionary for the run-of-the-mill systems administrator," says Rick Villars, VP of storage systems at IDC, in an email today. "To use this effectively, companies will have to have looked at storage assets on a networkwide basis."

Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch

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