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Start-up's technology could compete with SAN management software

InterSAN Inc., a Scotts Valley, Calif., software start-up, officially enters the market Monday with more than $10 million in funding and a software offering it claims is the next generation of storage management.

While there are few details regarding the product's hardware support for its applications-based Storage Area Management (SAM) software, InterSAN said that its software is based onVirtual Private DataPath (VPD) technology, which establishes and manages the relationship between an application and its storage. According to InterSAN, VPD technology lets customers provision, manage, and monitor all storage resources required by an application based on service levels.

InterSAN's approach is based on a term called Storage Area Management (SAM). Coined by research firm Gartner, SAM refers to the centralized management of applications' data and resources across storage domains.

The company is touting auto-provisioning as a key feature of its product. Enterprise Storage Group analyst Nancy Marrone said if auto-provisioning in a storage area network (SAN) were realized, the amount of time and expertise required to add additional storage resources would be dramatically reduced, and if done right, the reliability of the network would be increased.

However, Marrone said, to be successful auto-provisioning software must understand every nuance of the existing network. "The software must first do an effective job of monitoring and tracking usage and performance patterns so as not to overwhelm any element in the data path when adding additional traffic. It must also be aware of device capacity and security levels etc. Only when the management software can effectively track and 'comprehend' all of these aspects of the network can it effectively auto-provision the storage," she said.

InterSAN's product does device monitoring and data path monitoring and Marrone thinks it competes head to head with other SAN management and SRM vendors like SANavigator, Vixel and BMC. "InterSAN does this end-to-end data path monitoring primarily for the purpose of auto provisioning," said Marrone "In that sense, they are monitoring the data paths in order to understand the network configuration and usage, such that they can determine the appropriate paths and devices to use when auto-provisioning the network."

The InterSAN management product can actually be a complement to the SRM vendors that are intending to do rule-based management, she said. "Those vendors intend to take action based on events and usage patterns that are monitored in the network. The InterSAN software in theory could be the software that then acts on those results. InterSAN will either partner with the SRM vendors, or those vendors will provide services like InterSAN's currently deliver themselves."

InterSAN has banked $7.8 million in its first round of venture funding, led by Wit SoundView Ventures, Alliance Ventures, Morgan Keegan & Company, and Kumar Malavalli, co-founder and vice president of technology of Brocade Communications Systems.

InterSAN said it would use the funding to complete product development and deploy its applications-based SAM solution with beta customers. "This round of funding will carry us into next year," said Truls Myklebust, director of product management. InterSAN is starting its beta program this summer.

InterSAN was founded by storage software executives Chris Melville and Christina Mercier in January 2000, and has secured 10 strategic partnerships that will be announced in the near future.

Let us know what you think about the story, e-mail Kevin Komiega, assistant news editor

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