Aptare brings storage analytics to the cloud with StorageConsole

Aptare expands cloud capabilities of its storage analytics and backup reporting tools to offer real-time reports on arrays, data protection systems.

Aptare Inc. today upgraded its StorageConsole backup and storage analytics suite, enabling customers to store and retrieve reports from the cloud.

StorageConsole 9 uses the cloud for real-time access to reports on data the software collects from storage arrays, backup targets and software, SAN switches, file systems, operating systems and VMware hypervisors. The vendor is looking to allow enterprises to use the cloud for storage management while also appealing to cloud service providers who have to deal with a mixture of storage systems.

The StorageConsole suite consists of Backup Manager, Replication Manager, Capacity Manager, Virtualization Manager, Fabric Manager and File Analytics modules.

Aptare claims more than 1,000 customers, and CEO Rick Clark said many of them use multiple backup systems and storage arrays. Aptare collects information from all those products into reports used to perform backup and storage analytics reports.

"Now we can push all of our reports out dynamically from the cloud," Clark said. "All of our reports are available real-time from the cloud."

StorageConsole 8 used the cloud to store data collected from customers, but did not make all of its reports available in the cloud. Clark said the cloud integration allows customers to search for information such as service-level agreements, utilization or chargeback statistics, and to receive instant reports.

"You bring up StorageConsole 9, type in anything in the search field, and it will search the cloud for analytics to solve a problem," he said. "You don't have to download the report; it will happen automatically through the browser."

Aptare's self-service reporting options from the cloud enable cloud providers to make those reports available to customers.

Aptare added support for Dell Compellent, Hewlett-Packard 3PAR StoreServ and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) HNAS storage arrays. Aptare already supported arrays from EMC, HDS, IBM and NetApp.

HDS sells Aptare software through an OEM deal, and EMC this year validated Aptare StorageConsole as part of its Vspex Reference Architecture program.

While storage array vendors have their own reporting and analytics applications, they typically do a poor job of reporting on other vendors' systems.

"Our biggest competitors are dudes with spreadsheets," Clark said. "A lot of customers have lost confidence in products from the big vendors because they didn't scale, weren't flexible enough and didn't support heterogeneity."

Dave Simpson, senior storage analyst at 451 Research, said Aptare performs a difficult task in supporting all the major vendors' products. He said most of the large array vendors ignore the Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S) industry standard, making it difficult for third parties to support their storage.

"There's a reason that there aren't a lot of third-party reporting products -- it's a large job to be heterogeneous," Simpson said. "It requires a lot of testing to support all the large vendors. The large array vendors haven't done much with SMI-S. You have to go in through a command-line interface and APIs [application programming interfaces] for all those arrays."

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