Version 6.6 of SAN/iQ, software for managing iSCSI SAN (storage area network) clusters, provides a more intuitive user interface, support for more hardware components and additional features that enable the products clustering capabilities to address more storage management challenges.
Version 6.6s enhanced UI is built on the tree structure that users are accustomed to from Microsoft Windows applications, said Ben Bolles, senior product manager for LeftHand Networks, of Boulder, Colo.
Because the new UI is a Java-based console that can be run from any Windows or Linux system, it should help simplify management of SAN/iQ clusters, Bolles said.
The improved tree-based UI is a good idea, said Greg Schulz, president of StorageIO, a storage consultancy based in Stillwater, Minn.
The interface should make for a more intuitive GUI to ease management tasks, Schulz said.
SAN/iQ 6.6 also offers new and enhanced management wizards for SAN implementation and management.
The wizards help SAN administrators set up storage clusters, volumes and iSCSI clients according to best practices.
All system events and alerts are passed through the UI in real time, as well as via e-mail and/or SNMP.
"From a single pane of glass, the administrator is able to manage multiple SAN systems and/or locations in their environments," Bolles said. "They have all the relevant information about their SAN presented to them in a hierarchical view that can be expanded or contracted based on what part of the system they are interested in managing."
Other storage management features include soft shutdown power management, as well as improvements in reporting for storage capacity, in SAN health reporting and in disk replacement.
SAN/iQ 6.6 also bolsters bandwidth management by allowing administrators to set prioritization of bandwidth available on the SAN for application server access or data re-builds.
In addition, SAN/iQ now includes the ability to set common WAN bandwidths based on common WAN technologies, such as T-1 or T-3, for SAN/iQ Remote Copy.
"During a disk or SAN repair that requires data to be rebuilt from RAID or SAN/iQ replication, the administrator can specify at a granular bandwidth level the relative impact they would like to apply to the application server access to the data versus the time to rebuild the data," Bolles said.
The administrator can throttle the performance impact to the system during a rebuild using a slider-bar interface that sets the bandwidth priority for application servers versus data re-builds, he added.
With this release, LeftHand Networks also has qualified what it claims is the fastest SCSI drive and highest-density SATA (Serial ATA) drives available.
At the same time, the company has added support for 750GB SATA drives in its NSM (Network Storage Module) 160 platform and support for 300GB 15K SCSI drives for Hewlett-Packards ProLiant DL380 server.
These advances mean that within a single SAN/iQ-enabled system, an organization can have storage tiers based on different drive technologies for performance and capacity, Bolles said.
"For instance, they can use high-speed SCSI-based systems for high-performance, transaction-based applications like databases and/or e-mail systems, and use the SATA-based systems for lower-performance applications like file sharing and backup," he said.
Finally, LeftHand Networks announced a new version of the SAN/iQ Solution Pack for Windows.
The new DSM (device-specific module), Version 1.2, supports multiple NICs (network interface cards) in the host servers for better fault tolerance and performance.
The ease-of-use and flexibility enhancements, along with support for hardware component improvements, should bode well for LeftHand Networks, StorageIOs Schulz said.
"LeftHand continues to enhance its clustering capabilities to address storage management changes by supporting integrated virtualization to automatically load balance across new storage when added," Schulz said.
"These enhancements should enable LeftHand to continue to build on its previous success and momentum as an iSCSI innovator and compete with the likes of EMC and NetApp [Network Appliance], among others."