Software startup AppIQ Inc. on Monday unveiled added file-level storage resource management (SRM) capabilities, heterogeneous device support, provisioning, and backup and recovery management capabilities to its management software, all in anticipation of a trend that sees applications taking over storage network management.
The AppIQ StorageAuthority suite was built from the ground up on the Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S). The line combines the SMI-S model with recently acquired technology from startup XStormTech, Helmetta, N.J., to "expose unique features of individual storage elements," according to chief technology officer Ash Ashutosh.
"Rather than go out and create a fancy object module, we decided we would go out and build it on standards," Ashutosh said. Burlington, Mass.-based AppIQ designated six of its engineers and two marketing people for SMI-S development, a big investment for a small company.
Ashutosh believes that the future of storage resource management lies within applications and that, in a few years, storage management will not be a software category but rather a subcategory of application management. "Our belief [is] that, in three or four years, there will be no independent standalone storage management companies," he said.
"We knew that, in a matter of two years, we had to build a platform that would be driven by applications," he said.
The rationale is that application developers decide what kind of servers and storage they want for a given project. "The business is saying applications start from the top," Ashutosh said.
John Webster, founder and senior analyst at Data Mobility Group Inc., Nashua, N.H., agreed with Ashutosh that the merging of storage networks with other computing networks has already begun.
However, he said, the category of storage software cuts a wide swath across the data center and includes storage infrastructure and data management. "I think there will always be new ISVs coming to market with better ways to manage data," he said.
Also this week, AppIQ slapped a new moniker on its software and brought all of its product features and functions under the umbrella of the AppIQ StorageAuthority suite. The name 'StorageAuthority' actually represents a wide-reaching renaming effort on AppIQ's part. All of the company's product features and functions now fall under the StorageAuthority umbrella. The suite's newest feature is an SRM module that manages capacity and performance from "file server to spindle," according to the company.
StorageAuthority for File Servers does many of the things you'd expect from a traditional SRM product, like sending alerts when share points and file systems near capacity limits, identifying files that can be deleted or archived and locating users that are exceeding disk space quotas. But it goes a step further by generating a storage topology that shows which physical disk subsystems can be seen by each file server based on SAN zones. The topology also provisions new capacity at the host, switch and disk subsystem levels.
When it comes to device support, AppIQ has a laundry list of leading storage platforms and products that it can manage, including Sun Solaris, IBM AIX, HDS Dynamic Link Manager and several EMC product lines, including the Symmetrix DMX family of storage systems, the Connectrix family of switches and directors and the Clariion disk arrays with PowerPath, raw volumes, Brocade and LSI Logic firmware revisions.
AppIQ said its device support is a direct result of helping other vendors comply with the Storage Management Initiative Specification. Some of those vendors include Brocade, Hitachi Data Systems Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., LSI Logic Storage Systems, McData Corp., Network Appliance Inc., SGI and Sun Microsystems Inc.
The AppIQ StorageAuthority suite will be available in November 2003 through AppIQ and AppIQ solution partners. Pricing for the software has not been announced.
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