QLogic Eases SAN Management

QLogic, which makes storage switches and host-bus adapters, announced new software to help users manage both products at once.

QLogic Corp., which makes storage switches and host-bus adapters, on Tuesday announced new software to help users manage both products at once.

SANsurfer Tool Kit, which is available now, will let the Aliso Viejo, Calif., companys customers administer the QLogic switches and HBAs in a SAN (storage-area network) from a single interface. The product also has a set of application programming interfaces so third party developers can write hardware drivers to it, said Roger Klein, director of product management. Its free and is being shipped as a standard part of QLogics SANbox switches and SANblade adapters. It can also be downloaded at qlogic.com.

"There are some really good SAN management products in the marketplace, [but] theyre not for everybody and theyre certainly not inexpensive," Klein said. "We see (SANsurfer Tool Kit) as an enabler for our end-to-end story."

What the announcement doesnt solve is any significant vendor interoperability issue, according to one analyst.

"QLogic has not had a heterogeneous SAN management tool," and still doesnt, said Arun Taneja, an analyst with Enterprise Storage Group Inc., in Milford, Mass. "Its positive, its good, but its relatively simple. You can make LUN [logical unit number] masking smoother and easier" by using it.

Because QLogic is the only significant company that makes switches and HBAs—rather than just one or the other—its meaningful to their users to have common management interfaces, he said.

SANsurfer supports Microsoft Corp.s Windows, Novell Inc.s NetWare, Sun Microsystems Inc.s Solaris, and Red Hat Inc.s version of Linux. It also has features for failover capability, remote management and diagnostics, and static load balancing. Also, while the prior separate interfaces for QLogics switches and adapters had features like fabric distance extension and security, those features are easier to implement in SANsurfer. Some users didnt implement them at all in the prior tools because of usability problems, Klein said.

SANsurfer is designed to complement, rather than replace, mainstream SAN management tools from vendors like Computer Associates International Inc., IBM, Legato Systems Inc., and Veritas Software Corp., he said.

In a release due later this year, SANsurfer will get new features for failover, other sets of APIs like the industry-standard Common Information Model and Web-Based Enterprise Management, and support for new hardware products.