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Onaro adds support for NAS, VMware to app monitoring software

Onaro answers customers' calls for a application performance tool that monitors VMware environments and supports storage virtualization and NAS.

Onaro Inc. is broadening its Application Insight monitoring and change management software to report on server and storage virtualization environments, as well as NAS systems.

Users of Application Insight have been clamoring since last year for Onaro to add VMware support, but Onaro said that would require using a software agent to provide the kind of granularity in reporting that customers wanted.

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So what's changed? VMware has altered its product to make it easier to integrate with storage management tools. Onaro used VMware's custom API to create Onaro VM Insight, a module that plugs into Application Insight, so that VMware data streams are one of the data types that Application Insight can report on. Onaro customers must run VMware's Virtual Center to use VM Insight.

Using an API puts Onaro at VMware's mercy when it comes to what features it can support, but Illuminata Inc. analyst John Webster said Onaro appears to have the complete checklist of features for managing VMware environments.

That checklist includes:

  • The ability to connect virtual machines to the storage fabric and disk arrays down to the individual disk level
  • The ability to correlate virtual machines to network paths
  • A comparative analysis of the performance load virtual machines place on the storage fabric
  • A diagnosis of contention issues
  • A before-and-after comparison of snapshots of the loads on a particular disk when new VMs are installed

"At first blush, they appear to have all the requirements," Webster said. He also said he was surprised that Onaro has only recently added support for NAS systems with NAS Insight 1.0.

"I think as a small company they have had to budget their development dollars," he said. "They may have been waiting for a critical mass of demand among their customers for this new support."

Onaro's rate of creating new modules might reflect the slow pace in its customers' adoption rate of existing features, Webster said. "Onaro's customer base is very large high-end shops that are very savvy and cautious about what they deploy," Webster said. "Users have probably been testing out the original SANScreen product on SANs before being comfortable enough to ask for NAS support too."

Webster said storage resource management (SRM) and configuration management applications are just getting to the point where they're worth considering over tools developed by SAN system vendors, such as EMC Control Center (ECC). "It's been a long slog, but these products are finally getting to the point where people are trying to figure out if they should still go forward with tools like ECC or go to specialized packages," he said.

Onaro added support for storage virtualization products in Service Insight 4.5. The first set of storage virtualization products Service Insight 4.5 supports includes IBM's SAN Volume Controller (SVC), Hitachi Data Systems' USP and USP-V, and Incipient Inc.'s Incipient Networked Storage Platform (iNSP). Onaro marketing vice president Bryan Semple said those are the products its users have in production. He said Onaro will next look into supporting EMC's recently announced Invista 2.0.

Semple said there hasn't been a great demand for storage virtualization yet. "We've seen storage virtualization much less often in user accounts than server virtualization," he said.

Onaro's announcement follows Symantec Corp.'s addition of support for storage and server virtualization devices in CommandCentral 5.0 in August. However, CommandCentral uses agents that can put off users in large shops. "The conventional wisdom is that agents don't scale," Webster said. "But agents allow the vendor to develop more features on their own without having to rely on an API."

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