Historically, Windows has been left out of the SAN management picture. Netreon, Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., hopes to change that with its new SAN tool that fully integrates with Windows. Until now, SAN management technology has been "undernourished" and limited to Unix-based and mainframe systems, said Bob Davis, CEO of Netreon.
Netreon's SANexec Manager is the first Windows-based SAN management application, according to Davis. It will be available through resellers and integrators for $9,995.
"There's always been a learning curve with any kind of SAN management. This will really flatten the curve," said author Marc Farley. Gone are the days of Windows-based networks running SANs only being compatible with Java- and browser-based SAN management applications.
SANexec Manager fills a void in the Windows-based storage management product arena, Farley said. "Admins who work with systems using Windows admin tools will be able to use the same facility with the same look and feel they have now," said Farley, author of Building Storage Networks and President of Building Storage, Inc., Saratoga, Calif. Building Storage, Inc. specializes in network storage consulting services.
Windows has evolved through the years to support historically Unix-based applications, such as customer relationship management technologies. So, moving into the realm of SAN management seems only a natural progression, Davis said.
A few years ago, usually only "Fortune 100, high-end companies who had the time to spend on management" had SANs, Davis explained. They were usually running Unix anyway, so the complexly coded Unix-based SAN management products were easy for them to administer, he said.
Now, however, even mid-sized companies can have enough data to add a SAN, but they often do not run Unix. Organizations with e-mail servers, such as Exchange or LotusNotes, have a "constant need to add more servers because of how much storage they'll support," Davis said. "SANexec Manager facilitates that process of adding more storage."
Yet now even mixed Unix and Windows organizations may turn to the Windows platform for their SAN management needs. "Most of the mixed environments with Unix and Windows are leaning more toward Windows because it's more universal and accepting," said Rich Baldwin, president and CEO of Nth Generation, a SANexec Manager reseller based in San Diego, Calif.
Baldwin said Nth Generation chose SANexec Manager over other SAN management products like SANavigator, because it was more comprehensive and state-of-the-art. Nth Generation will announce the availability of SANexec Manager to its customers on Feb. 27.
SANexec Manager can further appeal to Windows customers because it uses the Microsoft Management Console for its user interface. It also integrates with Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) for event correlation and notification. "That's a huge advantage to customers who are using MOM," said Farley. "I don't know why they would manage a SAN without it."
Davis hopes SANexec Manager will be the start of a new evolution for Windows in storage. As the OS matures, naturally it becomes more functional and users become more used to it, he said. "End users are not platform agnostic. They care where there management tools live," said Davis. "It's not so profound to say SAN management is going to be dominant in the Windows world," Davis concluded.
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