Hands-On Review: Onaro SANscreen 2.5.2


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Usability and interface
The administration portal is the first point of user contact with SANscreen; it's accessed by typing the server's name and port number (i.e., https://santa-anita:80) into a Web browser. (The port is the Web server port number, not the port used for communication between the server and acquisition unit.)

The interface provides a portal to the SANscreen client GUI, user management, import, mail and simple network management protocol (SNMP) configurations. It's also the access point for applying license strings, accessing log files and backing up and restoring configuration files.

You'll spend most of your time with the SANscreen client GUI. Each of the five main interfaces has shortcut and navigation panes on the left, with icons that launch screens that display a main table, topology and detail pane on the right. A menu pane lets you quickly view device properties and change the details of a screen layout.

Through the main table, individual Nx_Ports and their access paths can be selected to obtain more information. The topology pane reflects the relationships between the end points and their paths, including zone membership, the number of paths between end points and the health of those paths. The topology pane tends to get cluttered, but you can customize it to only display particular zones and fabrics.

SANscreen's interface is easy to navigate. The screens,

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menus and simple mouse-click operations make it easy to get up to speed quickly. In addition, the topology pane and automatic refresh feature makes SANscreen a good monitoring tool.

The user management portal lets administrators define users, assign roles and the rights to view or change configuration data. SANscreen is highly customizable; you can, for example, define individual views with groups of SAN devices that are of interest to a particular business unit. E-mail notifications alert users to changes and policy violations in the SAN on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

E-mail notifications are enabled by providing the server the IP address of your SMTP server and a valid e-mail account user name and password. SANscreen uses the account to send out notifications.

Onaro uses SNMP to send change and violation traps to trap hosts in an enterprise network management infrastructure, thereby providing visibility into events that occur in the SAN. SANscreen isn't currently Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S) compliant, but Assaf Levy, Onaro's vice president of product development, says SANscreen will support SMI-S next year.

Unless you install an open-file backup agent on the SANscreen server, you'll have to backup and restore its configuration manually using the administration portal. You only have to provide the backup destination and source for the restore file.

This was first published in September 2004

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