InterSAN Inc., will launch on Monday the first version of its application-based storage area management (SAM) software. Dubbed Pathline, the Scotts Valley, Calif.-based company's software is designed to give users the ability to manage the relationship between applications and data storage.
Based on a technology called Virtual Private DataPath (VPD), Pathline masks the complexities of a storage networking infrastructure, an approach that eliminates the need to manually manage individual storage devices.
"SANs are great, but managing them isn't easy," said InterSAN executive Karen Dutch. "Pathline efficiently manages SANs because it understands the relation of the infrastructure back to the application."
Pathline's application-oriented approach lets customers to provision, manage, and monitor storage networks based on applications rather than devices.
InterSAN contends that while SAN deployments have shown real benefits for the end user, comprehensive management solutions are still needed for businesses to realize the full potential of SANs. Customers can use Pathline to automate storage provisioning, provide and measure differentiated service levels and put end-to-end, policy-based SAN security in place.
Bill North, director of research for IDC's Storage Software unit, said SAM has historically been about device management, InterSAN can slice and dice the management view many different ways.
"You can go to a device and see what application will get hit if it goes down," said North. "You can shine your flashlight down either end of the fibre and see [which application] is going to get hit."
Among Pathline's features are automatic discovery and continuous health monitoring for storage networking components. The software manages the application-to-data storage path without placing any hardware or software in the data path. This approach, said InterSAN, avoids performance and availability penalties.
Nancy Marrone, senior analyst for Milford, Mass.-based analyst firm the Enterprise Storage Group, said InterSAN's offering goes beyond static discovery and monitoring tools by providing an application level view and automated provisioning based on preset policies.
She said that Pathline traces the Virtual Data Path, which shows the relationship between an application and the path it takes on the network to its assigned storage down to the LUN level.
"By monitoring that path, they can provide a level of proactive management not available from "traditional" SAM vendors," said Marrone. "The InterSAN product can determine if there will be performance issues with the application based on the availability of the storage or the elements in the path."
StorageWay Inc., a Fremont, Calif.-based SSP, which provides storage-on-demand and backup services is using Pathline to automate the repeatable processes involved in its customer deployments.
"We're using [Pathline] to secure data paths and automate the repeatable processes for bringing [paths] up and tearing them down," said Chris Eidler, vice president of engineering and CTO, StorageWay.
Eidler said Pathline lets StorageWay increase productivity levels while letting its personnel move on to other projects. "I can take an entire group and drop it down to [no people]," said Eidler.
Pathline automates common IT tasks including provisioning, configuration, management, and monitoring of networked storage components.
InterSAN is not publishing list prices for Pathline, but said the pricing is based on the amount of SAN-attached storage, the number of switch ports, and the diversity of storage networking hardware in the environment.
InterSAN is not the only vendor playing in the SAM space. Companies like BMC, EMC and Veritas are also pushing application-based storage management.Let us know what you think about the story, e-mail Kevin Komiega, assistant news editor
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