Onaro Extends Automation to Storage

New products offer high-level visibility into storage activity

September 5, 2007

4 Min Read
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There are a number of reasons why storage is left out of IT automation, but Onaro is determined to end the cycle of neglect.

The vendor, which specializes in storage management, has introduced three new products it claims can substantially improve the capacity utilization and capex profiles of enterprise storage users. They include Capacity Manager 1.0, which presents information on the amount of storage capacity available by business unit, department, data center, or other organizational unit; and Provisioning Manager 1.0, a package that forecasts storage requirements for specific storage tiers or business units. Both modules run on dedicated Windows servers, like the rest of the SANscreen suite. They start at $250 per Tbyte of managed storage and are available now, Onaro says.

Onaro has also unveiled an Application Dashboard feature for its Service Assurance module, which tracks service-level performance of the storage environment by application. The Service Assurance module starts at $185 per port and is available now.

Finally, Onaro pre-announced VM Insight, which is due out in December and will track the underlying resources associated with virtual machines. No pricing has been set.

The new products are part of Onaro's widening roster of SANscreen wares, which aim to depict information about storage resources that (1) isn't available outside of vendor-specific SRM tools, precluding high-level heterogeneous storage views; or (2) is largely absent from overarching IT automation and management solutions."SRM does not equal data center automation for storage," says Bryan Semple, VP of marketing at Onaro. "Those tools are not real time, and they offer no actionable [sic] level of storage visibility that people outside of storage can use."

While non-storage folk don't want to know the intricacies of LUN zoning, mapping, or masking, Semple says, they do want to know how much capacity they have, whether they can access it at the right level of redundancy, how storage affects performance, and the level of data recoverability provided by storage.

This information can be used to cut down the amount of storage-in-waiting that's been required in lots of shops with poor storage visibility. And the data can be sent to SRM systems like EMC's ControlCenter, which in turn activates specific provisioning actions; or automation like BladeLogic's, saving operations time.

One Onaro customer is pleased with the new modules. Rocky Grasso, IS manager of systems support for the Harvard-affiliated CareGroup Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, has liked SANscreen, which his group has used for over a year. "It is particularly helpful when you're making changes to hardware, such as code upgrades to arrays or switches. You can see whether they all came back," he notes. His group is now testing the new Onaro modules and likes the views of storage they provide.

"If a customer is requisitioning new storage, they can request a particular type of storage and actually see what it's going to cost," Grasso notes. Grasso hasn't signed the contract for the new Onaro software just yet, but says he intends to.Notably, the hospital isn't replacing anything with Onaro's software. The group, which has an ILM system of several tiers across EMC Symmetrix and Clariion systems at two large sites, is currently evaluating an automation solution from BladeLogic, and it is also an Akorri customer.

Grasso concedes there's some overlap in the performance data about applications delivered by Akorri and Onaro, but "It's not enough to cause us to consider one over the other."

The hospital also isn't looking for full-blown automation from Onaro. "They're about halfway there," says Grasso's colleague Michael Passe, the group's storage architect. Onaro's offerings are "semiautomatic," he says, because they combine scripting of procedures, an approach that's preferred by many storage managers for speed, with a GUI.

While Onaro's new products put it into competition with the likes of Akorri, Symantec, EMC, Opsware, and even partner BladeLogic, it's likely that other customers will, like CareGroup, adopt multiple products to automate IT and storage management.

At the same time, it's clear that Onaro will make every effort to get the partnerships and product set it needs to land in a more central spot in IT -- a spot it seems will be increasingly occupied by a small roster of expensive and integrated tools.

  • Akorri

  • BladeLogic Inc.

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Onaro Inc.

  • Opsware Inc. (Nasdaq: OPSW)

  • Symantec Corp.0

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