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Professional services firm SANpulse launches storage discovery application

SANpulse turns its SANlogics tool used for data migration professional services migrations and turns it into its SANatomy storage discovery software application.

SANpulse Technologies today released its first licensed software product, SANatomy, a storage discovery application based on intellectual property from a tool the company uses for its professional services. SANatomy generates detailed reports on storage area network (SAN) arrays, switches and servers for discovery and analytics to help customers prepare for projects such as data center consolidation, storage virtualization, and cloud storage implementation.

"We are in the services business, and we're launching into the product business now. This is the first step," said Ralph Hennen, managing director of software development at SANpulse.

SANpulse professional services help organizations with data migration, data center consolidation, fabric design, tiering, capacity reclamation and storage virtualization. SANatomy is based on IP from SANpulse's SANlogics software that it uses for its data migration service. SANlogics produces analytic reports as part of the preparation for migration projects.

"If you're going to do a data migration, you have to do discovery first," Henned said. "The idea is to remove some of the complexity involved in data migration. We collect the data off the SAN. We pull data from the array and switches, clear the data and prop it up against a database and then serve it up in a report. Storage architectures have very few data architecture collection tools."

SANatomy helps to provide a comprehensive snapshot of the physical and virtual SAN-based storage infrastructures. Its reports show the interdependencies across the spectrum of the systems and components. The reports can show storage architects and IT managers where the storage resides, what is being used, what the storage overhead is, how much storage is remotely or locally protected and what is in the virtual storage bucket.

"It's an information tool, a discovery tool because you can't get where you are going if you don't know where you are," said Marc Staimer, president of Dragon Slayer Consulting. "The key problem it solves is it helps prevent errors in certain types of tasks, particularly data migration. Most people are not aware that it is going on all the time. There are 43 distinct steps in a SAN data migration and all are error prone and manually intensive. SANatomy breaks out the part of the discovery phase, so you get a view from the server all the way to the disk drives."

For instance, SANatomy takes an inventory from the SAN array that shows the Host Bus Adaptors (HBAs), versions, RAID levels, storage utilization rates, and how much storage has been allocated by department or location. Some of its graphics or pie charts show the number of arrays by server, the number of mapped devices by the array, or the gross storage utilized by the array. The reports also shows all the switch connections and details the number of switches by vendor, the number of bit types by port speed and the number of port types by port switches. SANatomy is agentless and supports heterogeneous or single-vendor environments. The reports are generated from a centralized repository that can be located locally or from one of SANpulse's third party cloud partners.

SANpulse will sell SANatomy as a standalone product or combined with SANpulse's professional servers. Pricing is based on number of physical servers per site. For the first- year license, it costs $22,000 for 50 to 250 physical servers. In the second year, SANpulse charges $1,000 per to license the same number of servers. For the first year, 250 to 999 servers cost $55,000 and that figure goes to $2,500 per month for the second year. A maximum of 5.000 servers costs $220,000 for the first year and $10,000 per month for the second year.

SANpulse's two main competitors in this area would be NetApp's SANscreen and Akorri's BalancePoint, although Hennen said he does not consider SANatomy a storage resource management (SRM) application.

"With SRM tools, you are going out and changing things," he said. 'With this tool, we are not changing things. We don't have access to the server unit itself. This is an inventory and governance information type of thing."

Hennen said SANpulse is planning to release more licensed software products, possibly adding a tool that provides a server view of the network.

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