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Last month, we looked at EMC Enterprise Control Center (ECC) Open Edition (see "EMC raises the bar for SAN management") with the intention of comparing its abilities to Veritas SANPoint Control 3.5.1. Although heterogeneous support didn't
Veritas has engineered and built on another storage management offering in SANPoint Control 3.5.1. SANPoint Control centralizes the management of storage resources into one console by exploring your SAN fabric and discovering its supported hardware and software components. In addition to discovery and zoning, real-time event reporting--along with policy-based end-to-end management and provisioning--ensures that it can be considered next-generation and capable of sparring with EMC's ECC.
|How SANPoint Control works|
A key requirement of business continuity is that there's sufficient distance between data storage locations so that a disaster that wipes out one site is unlikely to wipe out another site.
In fact, the architectural designs of these two product offerings are similar--so similar that one would think these two industry giants are losing software engineers to each other. It's like having the prototype of an NBA center in Shaquille O'Neal: Why would you want to change that basic design? So, each product's value will be determined by its ability to expand on this sound design by developing intuitive interfaces, engineering interoperability across vendor offerings and streamlining administrative efforts across the SAN. But isn't this how it should be?
SANPoint Control is based on a distributed client-server architecture and is represented by three components: the SANPoint control console, server and agent (see "How SANPoint Control works" on this page). These components are supported on the latest versions of Solaris, HP-UX, Windows 2000 and NT platforms. Communication between the console(s) and the SANPoint Control server happen over a TCP/IP socket on port 2802 for the SAN access layer (SAL) or port 5431 for policy management. If there's a conflict with another application, you can redirect this communication traffic to other ports. By default, the simple network management protocol (SNMP) is facilitated by the server listening and polling on ports 162 and 161 respectively. However, the server and configured agents communicate via XML over an HTTP connection on port 2802, which can't be changed.
SANPoint Control's console
The console is a browser-based XML recipient that presents data retrieved from the SANPoint server, or more specifically, the SAL. The data seen in the console is an aggregation of the hardware and software components discovered during exploration. Through this interface, the user is able to engage the API functions of a supported device and thus manage that particular piece of hardware with the same level of control possible with a management application that is native to that piece of hardware. In addition, there are also a few storage, server and database management software solutions that can be discovered and managed. For instance, Veritas Volume Manager and Cluster Server--as well as NetBackup--can all be discovered and launched from the accommodating server. Although the list of applications that can be discovered are mostly Veritas products, the list also includes Oracle and MS Exchange.
Like ECC, the console is divided into three parts that are properly titled the tree view, the display table and the details view. The tree view is on the left side of the interface and contains a directory tree for each SAN resource. From there, you can filter out the presentation of devices by their type or association. Within the tree view frame, the fabric, storage, hosts and group views give the user the ability to display only the devices they're interested for that particular operation.
If you're only interested in fabric networking devices, you can limit the displayed data to only those devices. The storage and hosts views are more comprehensive and detailed than the fabric view in that they display connected and unconnected (no fabric login), zoned and unzoned devices and hosts wired into your SAN. In addition to managing the zones of the devices and hosts in these views, the hosts view also lists the discovered applications currently supported under SANPoint Control. And with group views, users can define views of a specified group of SAN resources associated with a particular department or application. This streamlines operations in a few ways, including letting the user to present accounts payable storage resources to the IT administrative staff responsible for financial applications.
The display table shows the next level of objects under the highlighted parent object. You can customize the table display by selecting the columns of information you've determined to be most important to you and only include those columns in the table.
The details view is composed of a set of panes or tabs. Each pane provides information in a different format, depending on what SAN object or group has been selected in the tree view. The topology, attribute, policy, alert connectivity, OS handles, host bus adapter (HBA), security and collectors panes collectively present topology and tabular data concerning the selected SAN resources' attributes, relationships, policies and statistical counters. Without a doubt, you'll be focusing most of your attention to this frame of SANPoint's console.
This was first published in July 2003