Feature

Best storage products of 2004

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Storage Management

GOLD:  

Onaro's SANscreen lets you test configuration changes before committing to them.
Onaro's SANscreen
Onaro Inc.'s SANscreen predictive change management software, the only product of its kind available today, troubleshoots problems caused by changes to SANs. Its analysis simulation capabilities can predict the impact of alterations made to a storage network before they occur.

It uses root-cause analysis to detect and advise how to fix errors before, during and after changes are made. "It helped us to more easily see the complex access paths, relationships and interdependencies within our [1,000-port] SAN," said Robert Shinn, a principal at State Street Global Advisors. He also uses SANscreen to record changes for audit

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purposes and regulatory compliance.

The SANscreen server runs on Windows 2000; clients run on Windows, Unix or Mac OS X Java-enabled machines. No other software is required in the network. It performs its discovery out-of-band or off the portion of the network that handles live data. Onaro claims that SANscreen supports all leading storage equipment. Pricing for a perpetual license starts at $125 per port; a subscription license is $64 a year per port.

If you manage a large SAN, SANscreen is a tool you need for all the obvious reasons. It blows the doors off anything else in the storage network management space.

SILVER:  

StorageX 5.0, from NuView, uses a global namespace to aggregate file systems.
NuView's StorageX 5.0
Release 5.0 of StorageX has solidified Houston-based NuView Inc.'s position as a pioneer in global namespace technology amid a host of new competitors entering this market.

A global namespace acts as a logical layer that sits between clients and file systems for the purpose of aggregating multiple, geographically dispersed heterogeneous file systems. It then presents file information to users and applications in a single, logical view.

The benefits of a global namespace are clear and compelling: Users (and applications) are shielded from physical storage complexities. Administrators can add, move, rebalance and reconfigure physical storage without affecting how users view and access it. And it provides a platform for developing functions such as data migration, server consolidation and disaster recovery.

Enhancements in release 5.0 include byte-level file differential replication, which avoids replicating entire files that tax WAN bandwidth and storage capacity; policy-based provisioning; integration with Network Appliance's NearStore for disaster recovery purposes; and the ability to create a tiered architecture.

"StorageX solves an important NAS management problem," said one judge. "By pooling NAS filers into a single image, it greatly reduces management disruptions and cost."

BRONZE:  

Softek's Performance Tuner can spot existing and potential bottlenecks.
Softek's Performance Tuner 1.1
Performance Tuner, from Softek Storage Solutions Inc., Vienna, VA., identifies existing, as well as potential, storage bottlenecks and component failures. However, it adds a new capability not commonly found in storage resource management (SRM) suites--storage admins can analyze whether metrics are related. For instance, they can analyze whether problems on a database server are connected to the saturation of an ISL in their SAN environment.

The ability to look at any two devices and see if there is a causal effect of one on the performance of the other is a unique feature. It's also one that puts users in a position to take an active management role in tuning the performance of the storage network supporting their critical applications (see Softek's Tuner strikes an SRM chord).



Next year's competition: Products of the Year for 2005 will accept submissions for products announced and shipped after October 25, 2004. The deadline to submit products is October 26, 2005. Details for qualification and instructions on submission will be posted at http://searchstorage.techtarget.com/survey/1,290964,sid5,00.html?s=553341. Anyone can submit a product for consideration.

This was first published in January 2005

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