EMCs ControlCenter SAN Advisor allows organizations to perform real-time "what-if" analyses to determine the impact of any potential changes to the network before making those changes.
Integrated into EMCs ControlCenter family of storage management software, ControlCenter SAN Advisor gathers detailed SAN environment in real time and uses it for analysis, baselining, SAN modeling and predictive change management testing, said Chris Gahagan, senior vice president of storage management software at the Hopkinton, Mass., company.
In addition, the system validates any change requested by the user against 130 rules for availability and array configuration, as well as against the EMC E-Lab Interoperability Support Matrix, EMCs database of best practices and device compatibility.
Users receive automatic, monthly updates on the latest devices and configurations supported in the SAN Advisor software.
The system could, for example, validate the compatibility of firmware or driver updates and simulate "what-if" scenarios before adding new devices to the environment, Gahagan said.
Integrating the tool with these rules, databases and other EMC software will make the product desirable to and usable by many enterprises, said Randy Kerns, senior partner at Evaluator Group of Greenwood Village, Colo.
"The fact that its not a separate, stand-alone tool is very important, because they can use the repository that contains all of the current information in real time," he said. "So, they can ask the system what will happen if they make a particular change, and find out right away if its the right thing to do or not. If the system tells them it wont work because they would violate certain rules, they could refine their change."
ControlCenter SAN Advisor also lets users check intended changes against industry best practices, comparing any actions against what EMC considers to be best practices in that area. By checking best practices first, users can avoid potentially expensive and time-consuming changes that could cause downtime, Gahagan said.
Although Computer Associates has a similar tool called BrightStor SAN Designer that performs similar what-if analyses, it doesnt work in real time with an integrated repository, Kerns said. ControlCenter SAN Advisor is the only tool currently able to map intended changes against a database of best practices, and it offer rules-checking, he said.
Although EMC is the first to offer an integrated tool of this type, Kerns said he expects competitors to introduce similar tools in the not-too-distant future.