Not to be upstaged by EMC and Hewlett-Packard, which are expected to make product announcements Tuesday at the Storage Decisions user conference in Chicago, Veritas Software is set to release new and improved storage management software -- version 3.5 of SANPoint Control.
The most promising aspect by far of the SANPoint Control upgrade is an applications integration feature, which supports Microsoft Exchange and Oracle database applications, as well as Veritas' own NetBackup, Cluster Server and Foundation Suite products.
When it comes right down to it, said Brenda Zawatski, the company's new vice president of product marketing, "what administrators care about isn't all the 'gorp' underneath, but how it relates to the application."
Also new in SANPoint Control are expanded reporting capabilities, automated provisioning of storage to supported applications, and critical data path management, whereby SANPoint Control monitors data paths through the storage infrastructure, sets policies managing the path, and -- potentially -- automates response to a failure.
Mountain View, Calif.-based Veritas has had SANPoint Control on the market for two years now. The product boasts support for a wide variety of heterogeneous hardware, including arrays from EMC, HDS, IBM and HP's EVA, as well as direct-attached disk and tape devices.
Managing heterogeneous devices is achieved a number of ways -- through public and private APIs, SNMP and command-line interfaces (CLIs). The company is a strong proponent of SNIA's CIM standard, it insists, but "until CIM becomes a reality," said Kevin Coughlin, senior product manager for SANPoint Control, "all those private APIs and CLIs need to be touched."
Zawatski said she is concerned about storage management applications that rely heavily on reverse engineering to provide support for heterogeneous systems. One such application is EMC's WideSky initiative.
"There's a lot of danger around reverse engineering," she said.
Customers should ask themselves questions like "who do you call when something goes wrong," and "what happens when a company upgrades its firmware," before they commit to storage management software that derives the brunt of its capabilities through reverse engineering, she added.
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Alex Barrett is Storage magazine's trends editor.