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D.H. Brown gives nod to Compaq on network management

A report on enterprise SAN management gives Compaq high marks on completeness, services, and ROI.

D.H. Brown gives nod to Compaq on network management
By Alan Earls

A new report on enterprise storage area network (SAN) management solutions conducted by D.H. Brown Associates, Port Chester, NY, concludes that Compaq Computer Corporation offers the best all-around approach to network storage management, ranking number one in study criteria, which included program completeness, services and return on investment.

The report focused only on SAN management offerings of Compaq, IBM/Tivoli and Sun Microsystems in the context of how SAN fits into wider enterprise issues. It is written from the point-of-view of IT managers.

D.H. Brown concluded that Compaq's ENSA architecture is the most well-defined and comprehensive as both a technical and business-oriented architecture. It describes Compaq's SANworks product suite as the most complete and its solutions as well-integrated. Compaq has most clearly defined its intent with its SAN management program and its customer objectives, say the report authors.

The study notes that Compaq has clearly identified ROI as an objective. Compaq's SAN Business Value Tool provides methodology for combining cost, technology, and business modeling to predict value of infrastructure change to business results.

The D.H. Brown analysis found that IT managers are focused on supporting business growth within the broader context of fitting IT into the corporate structure. This encompasses such demands as speeding time-to-market, consistently delivering high quality, lowering the cost of production, enhancing productivity, reducing complexity, supporting high-speed Web services and competing in a global market.

"While SAN management is still in its formative stage, Compaq already has integrated its elements to an impressive extent," said John Young, chief analyst for D.H. Brown Associates. "The criteria that define excellence in this important storage arena are coming into sharp focus. Improving SAN manageability is one of the most critical of these emerging criteria," he said.

However, Young, cautioned that the study was narrow -- something he plans to expand in the first half of 2002 in its area of coverage and in the number of vendors examined. Young said that in the rankings he devised, Compaq came out ahead with IBM/Tivoli in second place followed by Sun. However, he added, "the goal was not to determine a ranking but simply to establish how complete their solutions were." And, he added, "Tivoli, for instance, did some other things very well that we didn't look at directly with this study."

As HP and Compaq continue their move toward a merge, it should be interesting to see where Compaq's ENSA architecture could fit into the HP paradigm. According to Nick Allen, Gartner, Inc.'s research director and vice president, who spoke recently at Storage Decisions 2001, HP's FSAM architecture has a high probability of prevailing over Compaq's current ENSA architecture once the merge occurs.

About the author: Alan Earls is a freelance writer residing in Franklin,, Ma.

Additional Resources:
1. HP/Compaq: What has the industry been saying about it?
Do you want to read more about the implications of the proposed merger between HP and Compaq? Try our Featured Topic on the subject.

2. What is the future of Compaq's ENSA and other storage vendors?
Hear directly from Nick Allen about what he thinks on the future of Compaq, HP and a host of other storage vendors. This Featured Topic contains a Webcast of Nick Allen with highlights from his Storage Decisions 2001 presentation, and his presentation slides. These both describe the likelihood of certain Compaq products and features remaining once the HP/Compaq merge occurs.

3. What's the payback on SAN investments?
According to a recent analysis conducted by KPMG on behalf of Brocade, money spent on SANs is money well spent. The mini-study, heralded in a press release over the summer from Brocade, attempts to identify Return on Investment (ROI) and quantifiable benefits yielded from SANs in enterprise-class storage environments.

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