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SAN Monitoring Tools Grow Up

Fibre Channel performance monitoring tools have often been expensive, stubbornly hard-to-use products that didn't play well with other management systems -- especially when stacked up next to what's available in the Ethernet world.

That's now changing. As SANs become increasingly heterogeneous and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) gears up for its first foray into the market, traditional network management vendors -- including Computer Associates International Inc. (CA) (NYSE: CA) and NetScout Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: NTCT) -- are introducing products for monitoring and troubleshooting SANs, while traditional SAN players are adding new features to keep pace.

"There's more interest in SAN management in general, because as organizations acquire more storage and adopt storage area networks, they need comprehensive tools to manage it," says Dave Hill, an analyst with Aberdeen Group Inc.

CA this week introduced its first SAN management system, BrightStor SAN Manager. The company says one of the key design goals with the product was to allow regular IT staffers -- who are not necessarily hard-core SAN experts -- to manage the storage network on a day-to-day basis (see CA Spans Into SANs).

SAN Manager, which integrates into CA's other products such as Unicenter, provides real-time status information about the health of a SAN fabric; graphically displays device configuration and performance status; and shows how various routes through the fabric are being utilized.

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