The improvements in AppIQ Inc.s AppIQ StorageAuthority Suite 4.0 demonstrate that this SAN management platform is evolving into a more complete system. As far as eWEEK Labs is concerned, that evolution cannot come quickly enough, given that IT managers are forced to monitor and maintain a growing number of storage management tools just to take care of their daily chores in the data center.AppIQs commitment to storage standards such as SMI-S (Storage Management Initiative Specification) and CIM (Common Information Model), as well as the companys support for a wide array of storage hardware, has made it a formidable force in the storage management space. And eWEEK Labs tests show Version 4.0 of the suite will keep up the pressure on other vendors. (Hewlett-Packard Co. is in the process of acquiring AppIQ.) Version 4.0 provides the ability to manage and monitor Symantec Corp.s Veritas NetBackup servers and Network Appliance Inc.s NetApp Filers. AppIQ StorageAuthority Suite 4.0 began shipping last month, and the base console is priced starting at $30,000. The new StorageAuthority for NetApp module starts at $30,000 and is offered as a stand-alone product for IT managers who want just NAS (network-attached storage) management. The NetBackup module starts at $15,000. AppIQs new modules are a decisive step in the right direction, but our tests show that there is definitely room for improvement. For example, the suite still lacks iSCSI support, and the platform has few provisions for advanced management of NAS units. AppIQ StorageAuthority Suite 4.0 is a good fit, however, for midsize and large enterprises that have complex SAN (storage area network) infrastructures because it allows IT administrators with limited SAN skills to skillfully allocate and monitor storage. In tests, AppIQs new storageAuthority Protection Manager for NetBackup module allowed us to discover and monitor backup servers in our network. Once enabled, the Protection Manager module added a window to our AppIQ management interface that showed the status and results of older backup jobs, eliminating the need to install and launch NetBackup software on our AppIQ management station. AppIQ plans to expand the Protection Manager module to cover Symantecs Backup Exec, EMC Corp.s Legato NetWorker and IBMs Tivoli Storage Manager in future revisions of the suite. The AppIQ upgrades linking of backup software reporting management to storage management tools will allow IT managers to get a better idea of what data would be at risk in the event of a disaster or a SAN outage. Among AppIQ competitors, Computer Associates International Inc. has done a fairly good job of linking its SRM (storage resource management) tools to its backup products, and we hope more vendors will work to integrate backup reporting and management into their storage management tools. Version 4.0s StorageAuthority for NetApp module is AppIQs first stab at managing NAS units. Considering that most companies already have NAS installations, it makes sense for storage management software vendorswhich, up to now, have focused mainly on SAN and DAS (direct-attached storage) managementto work more closely with NAS products from market leaders such as EMC, Network Appliance and HP. The StorageAuthority for NetApp module allowed us to discover NetApp Filers on our IP network and provision their resources out to users. In this current release, however, the StorageAuthority for NetApp module cannot manage advanced Filer features such as quotas, snapshots or data replication. According to AppIQ officials, a point release in the first quarter of next year will add snapshot and quota management to the NetApp module. Next Page: Under better management.
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