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Put to the Test: Saner SAN Management

Finally, you want your software to include element management. You shouldn't have to master device- and vendor-specific apps and Web and command-line interfaces; instead, these tools should provide a consistent interface for common tasks, such as zoning.

San Managers Features

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With these ideals in mind, we searched for heterogeneous SAN managers that let administrators run a Fibre Channel SAN from a Windows console. Computer Associates' BrightStor SAN Manager, McData Corp.'s SANavigator and Softek's SANView all met our criteria. Veritas Software Corp.'s SANPoint Control is also a contender in this category, but Veritas declined to participate in our tests, saying it expects to ship a new release of SANPoint Control, but couldn't get us a copy of the final code before our deadline.

In contrast with the network-management arena, in which all the vendors support SNMP MIBs, each SAN-device vendor has developed its own management interfaces and APIs. Despite several rounds of important announcements from the SNIA (Storage Network Industry Association) and most of the vendors touting the holy grail of SAN management as WBEM (Web-Based Enterprise Management) or CIM (Common Information Model), or Bluefin, or SMI-S (Storage Management Initiative Specification), standard protocols and APIs for SAN-device management haven't reached the masses. By necessity, therefore, each product has vendor-specific modules or interfaces for managing devices from the major players in the enterprise SAN arena, such as McData and Brocade switches.

Look over the supported products list for any SAN manager to make sure it supports at least the key devices in your network. As we learned with our test SAN, owners of older or lower-end gear may have to wait until they upgrade their SAN infrastructure to get coherent management.

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