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EMC, BMC and Veritas crowned leaders in SAN management

The SAN management market is young and anything is possible. However, according to a report from research firm Gartner, there are a handful of companies that have already emerged as industry leaders.

EMC, Veritas and BMC Software were crowned as the emerging leaders in the SAN management software market by IT research and analyst firm Gartner.

The Stamford, Conn., -based company published a report earlier this month, which ranked a handful of storage vendors and their ability to execute in the emerging SAN management software market.

"This is not a measure of who has the best product. It's a measure of overall success." said Robert Passmore, project manager and co-author of the report for Gartner.

Passmore said the report is a barometer for the SAN management market. "This is [an indicator] as to what companies are best positioned to be in this business five years from now," he said.

Gartner said that as of November 2001, there were eight vendors shipping products to end users, including BMC Software's Patrol Storage Network Manager, Compaq Computer Corp.'s SANworks Network View, EMC's Enterprise Storage Network (ESN) Manager, Hewlett-Packard Co.'s OpenView Storage Area Manager, IBM Tivoli Storage Network Manager, McData Corp.'s SANavigator, Veritas Software Corp.'s SANPoint Control and Vixel Corp.'s InSite Professional.

Computer Associates International Inc., InterSAN Inc., and Prisa Networks have also made inroads into the SAN management space according to Gartner.

The analysts define SAN management software as products that manage Fibre Channel network devices and the paths to the storage and servers attached to those networks.

SAN management tools are admittedly still in their larval form, but Gartner predicts a new level of functionality is not far off.

Basic SAN management capabilities like discovery, topology mapping, zone and LUN management and monitoring and reporting are present in all of the first generation SAN tools. Gartner said the next generation will see more automation, security and service-level management.

Gatner said the bottom line is the products shipping today have a wide range of functionality, though still basic. But they caution users should recognize the embryonic state of the SAN management market and not expect miracles.

Passmore said that a host of vendors have come to a mature functionality around SAN management in the last six to nine months.

"Where we see most efforts focused in the future is in higher layers of storage management," he said.

Christina Mercier, vice president and chief technology officer for InterSAN said more intelligence will be put in devices like switches and disk controllers. "[The goal] is to centralize and automate the provisioning of storage to applications," she said.

Gartner said InterSAN has anticipated storage management needs and has done a slightly better job with linking individual components to storage applications than the other storage vendors, but only started shipping its software last month.

The smokescreen of confusion and complexity that once surrounded SAN technology is starting to dissipate and more automation and better linking storage resources to applications are bringing the industry closer to the original promise of SANs.

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


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