Fabric-based SAN management software unveiled

Emerging from its earlier stealthier stance, Incipient unveils its first network-based SAN management software at Storage Networking World.

PHOENIX – Incipient Inc., living up to its name, pulled back the covers a teeny bit more on its upcoming SAN management products at this week's Storage Networking World conference here.

Promising that Waltham, Mass.-based Incipient's offerings will be "disruptive technology," Robert Infantino, a storage industry veteran and representative of the fledgling company, said its Enterprise Intelligent SAN software will move host and array functionality to the SAN fabric where it can be better managed.

The argument the company gives for this approach is that as SANs grow in size and heterogeneity, the current method of running device-specific management software on hosts and storage arrays becomes inadequate as the networks become more complex.

Incipient's Distributed Virtualization Engine (DVE) taps into intelligent switches to handle a full range of volume management functions and services at the fabric level. DVE provides policy-based provisioning, data migration and point-in-time snapshots across arrays.

A Storage Administration Executive application runs on an attached server or desktop and provides the management console from which policies can be enacted, pools and classes of storage can be defined, and data can be moved or replicated across storage transparently to applications.

A DVE demonstration at the conference used Brocade switches, but Infantino says the standards-based DVE will work equally well with other switch vendors products. Previously, Incipient announced that DVE would run on storage networking kits from Troika Networks, Astute Networks and Aarohi.

The company says it has negotiated cooperative deals with major switch and storage vendors to include support for its product. Infantino adds that some agreements are already in place, although no formal announcements have been made yet.

Specific product configuration packages and pricing have not been set, but Incipient expects to ship a final version of its software when intelligent switches start shipping by the end of this year.

Infantino is confident that Incipient's technology will prove successful, saying that all major storage vendors have targeted fabric-based management in their product and technology roadmaps.

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