AppIQ, Take Two

Startup 'relaunches' its SAN management tool, adding file-level SRM and EMC support

October 4, 2003

3 Min Read
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Startup AppIQ Corp. next week plans to debut the third version of its standards-based SAN management software suite -- now called StorageAuthority -- that packs in a number of new features, including file-based storage resource management (SRM).

Calling the product release "kind of a relaunch of the company," AppIQ says the new version is the first integrated SAN management tool in the industry that's able to monitor a customer's storage environment from applications all the way down to the spindles. [Ed. note: Raises my goosebumps just thinkin' about it!] In addition to its SRM module, the new version provides rule-based provisioning capabilities and supports additional devices, including for EMC Corp.'s (NYSE: EMC) storage systems and SAN switches.

But does the new version really push AppIQ ahead of the pack, as the company claims? AppIQ, based in Burlington, Mass., will surely need all the enhanced features it can gin up if it hopes to pick up traction in what is surely one of the most contentious -- and crowded -- areas of the storage market.

At least one of AppIQ's early customers, The Weather Channel, still believes the hype.

"It's kind of a super-tool to manage everything," says Kevin Gungiah, director of systems administration at The Weather Channel, based in Atlanta. He's now beta testing version 3.0 of AppIQ's software. "We're seeing more functionality with it, more application-type capacity and performance management," he says. "I'm currently liking the tool a lot." [Ed. note: Does he predict a 70% chance of satisfaction?]The Weather Channel picked AppIQ in April 2003 after evaluating similar products from InterSAN Inc., McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA), and Veritas Software Corp. (Nasdaq: VRTS). "They were the most feature-rich application to manage my SAN," says Gungiah.

The company's 192-port SAN is comprised of Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) Fibre Channel switches, which connect to Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) Lightning 9960s configured with 22 Tbytes of storage. Gungiah says the AppIQ software is very granular, providing the ability to change the firmware versions in the Brocade switches -- a function Brocade's out-of-band management tool isn't able to do.

The new AppIQ software adds EMC support to an already broad number of SAN storage systems and switches, including those from Brocade, HDS, McData, Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), LSI Logic Storage Systems Inc., Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP), Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) (NYSE: SGI), and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW).

Tom Rose, VP of marketing at AppIQ, says that because the architecture of the software is based on the Common Information Model (CIM) -- which formed the basis of the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA)'s Storage Management Initiative (SMI) specification -- the company has been able to focus on higher-level features rather than the underlying plumbing.

"The bet AppIQ made two years ago to build our platform on SMI and CIM is now paying off, in that we haven't had to spend as much time as our competitors building proprietary abstraction layers and APIs and doing device integration," he says.AppIQ is highlighting the new version's SRM, which sends alerts when share points and file systems are about to run out of space; automatically identifies files that can be deleted or archived to free up capacity; identifies which users are exceeding disk space quotas; and generates topology that shows what physical disk subsystems can be seen from each file server based on SAN zones. The module is based on technology developed by XStormTech, which AppIQ last month said it had acquired (see Startup Swallows Smaller Startup).

The upgraded software also provides two new methods of chargeback that let IT organizations track storage usage by business unit and provides hooks into Veritas NetBackup, adding to its existing support for Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Exchange.

AppIQ expects to ship the StorageAuthority suite in November.

Todd "Spindles" Spangler, US Editor, Byte and Switch

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