Use Cricket to analyze SAN trends
A time-series analysis program is a handy tool for making sense out of trends in a storage network. When combined with a graphic display, time-series analysis lets administrators spot and understand trends in their network, identify potential problems and correct them before they become serious. Although several storage management programs include an analysis tool, many SAN administrators use an open-source tool called Cricket, which was written by Jeff Allen specifically for network management.
Cricket consists of two parts. The collector runs at regular intervals to collect data from the network and the grapher presents the information as a series of charts through a web-based interface. The collector uses Tobi Oetiker's RRDTool (Round-Robin Database Tool) to collect and store the desired network information. According to users, the result is fast, flexible and can handle the volume of data logged in such applications without becoming unwieldy.
Cricket runs under Solaris, HP-UX, Linux and most other versions of Unix as well as Windows NT (with some additional work on installation, but note that the Cricket home page says no one had documented such use as of July, 2001). The software was originally developed to help manage non-storage networks. However it can also be used to analyze SAN data. The software is downloadable under the GNU open source license from sourceforge. (http://cricket.sourceforge.net).
Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last twenty years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.