SAN Software Takes Center Stage

Hitachi, Sun, and others beef up software to make their SANs useful

April 13, 2005

3 Min Read
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PHOENIX -- Storage Networking World -- SAN vendors that rolled out systems with great fanfare last year are now getting around to delivering software to manage them.

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) were among the vendors announcing software enhancements at the Storage Networking World conference here today. Hitachi added tiered storage management for its SAN systems, and Sun enhanced the software for its StorEdge 6920 midrange system (see Hitachi Beefs Up Software and Sun Upgrades Midrange SAN Software ). Engenio Information Technologies Inc. and 3PAR Inc.

also announced software for their SANs (see Brocade Enhances Multiprotocol Router). Replication and management features show up in several of the announcements.

Hitachi announced Tiered Storage Manager as part of its HiCommand software management suite. The idea of Tiered Storage Manager is to make it easier to move volumes among different tiers. Hitachi also enhanced its Replication Monitor to allow customers to manage its copy and replication functions under one interface.

The news is only part of Hitachi's ongoing push on the software front, which began when it brought out Tagmastore enterprise SAN as part of its Universal Storage Platform last September (see Hitachi Struts Mr. Universal). Last week HDS announced its intent to rebrand CommVault Systems Inc.s data protection suite and offer backup reporting and monitoring from Aptare Inc. (see Hitachi, CommVault Strike OEM Deal and HDS to Work With Aptare).

Now, Hitachi must pull all these applications and its own overall management software together (see HDS Expands Software, Services). And there's more to integrate: Hitachi also has an OEM deal with AppIQ Inc. for storage resource management software. And last week the company announced its entry into the NAS business, which means it must address file management as well as block management (see NAS Up Next for Hitachi).“It’s just a bunch of pieces today,” says Jack Domme, Hitachi’s VP of storage management software. “We’re starting to put all the pieces together.”

Tiered Storage Manager will be available in May, and Domme says another version later this year will better integrate its device tuning software with AppIQ’s SRM. File management is farther down the road.

Sun is also building out its software around its flagship storage product, the StorEdge 6920 (see Sun Sings New Storage Song). Sun resells Hitachi’s Tagmastore for its enterprise customers, so the 6920 is its most sophisticated storage system.

Sun CEO Scott McNealy lauds the 6920 as an EMC Clariion killer, so now Sun needs the software to back up that claim -- especially considering Sun’s recent storage track record. EMC ranked first and Sun seventh in external storage revenues for the last quarter of 2004, according to IDC (see IDC: Networked Storage Up).

“We realize Sun has to turn a corner,” says Doug Wood, Sun’s senior director of storage systems.To try and negotiate that corner, Sun says it will add data replication and snapshot features as well as management enhancements to the 6920 in June.

Sun’s Data Replicator, which competes with EMC’s SRDF, has added backend support for EMC Clariion CX 400 and CX 700 systems. Wood says more vendors’ hardware will be added. Data Replicator still requires 6920s on both ends, but customers can then replicate to the supported Clariion systems. Sun also will add an Ethernet port for replication. It currently only supports Fibre Channel ports.

Sun’s Data Snapshot software will allow customers to roll back to any given snapshot instead of the most recent one. Sun supports up to eight snapshots on a volume.

3PAR has enhanced its Remote Copy replication software to allow customers to replicate from multiple 3PAR InServe Storage Servers to one of its offsite servers. The feature allows customers to consolidate more data for disaster recovery.

Engenio announced Storage Performance Analyzer, which came out of its co-development deal with AppIQ (see AppIQ & Engenio Join for Software). The analyzer displays connections among servers, HBAs, and switches, and monitors their performance for Engenio systems.— Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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