New software from switch vendor McData Corp. will give enterprise users network-based storage management regardless of which platform is used.
The new modules, due this summer, will come from a combination of internal development, licensing, and one or more corporate acquisitions, said officials last week at the Broomfield, Colo., company. The resulting software will comply with the Common Information Model storage management standard.
"The first thing well do will be provisioning automation, and thatll be short term," along with resource management functions, said Gary Gysin, McData general manager and vice president. By early next year, McData will include virtualization and volume management modules, Gysin said.
Software in a SAN (storage area network), rather than on disk arrays or servers, can better control applications and data and requires fewer licenses, but it could cause data bottlenecks.
"Once you build a virtualized world, what can you actually do with it? That seems to be the interesting discussion," Gysin said.
McData began answering that by merging its Enterprise Fabric Connectivity Manager and its SANavigator, a stand-alone software product, into a single code base, Gysin said. That move will enable storage companies to choose specific new modules to resell or write custom modules to a new API, he said.
For users, McDatas plan serves as an alternative to rival Brocade Communications Systems Inc.s approach, called Fabric Application Platform, announced this spring.
Leigh Popov, manager of technical services and telecommunications at Credit Valley Hospital, in Mississauga, Ontario, said hed consider buying such technology. "I still have yet to see any kind of software that gives you any kind of reasonable management at all. I would welcome something, anything," Popov said.
The hospital has Brocade switches running about 8 terabytes of IBMs high-end Enterprise Storage Server (Shark) hardware and plans to add up to 5 more terabytes in the next 18 months.
"I dont have any specific vendor loyalty. Unless this software is going to give you a view of all your stuff, then theres no real value. Were here actually working with this; were not in the marketing world," Popov said.
The SAN industry, Gysin acknowledged, is learning the same lessons the standard data networking field experienced a decade ago. "This to me is déjà vu. Were just doing the same issues over again," he said. But, he said, "Things are moving incredibly fast."
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