Emulex Targets SAN Flexibility with HBAnyware Upgrade

In addition to providing information on SAN status, the new version of HBAnyware uses out-of-band management to allow integration with tools from different vendors.

In an effort to give IT managers more flexibility in managing their SANs (storage area networks), Emulex of Costa Mesa, Calif. has introduced the first major upgrade of its Fibre Channel HBA (host bus adapter) management suite in two years.

HBAnyware 3.0 is the next iteration of the companys suite of tools that allow IT managers to manage all Emulex HBAs in a SAN from a single console across a heterogeneous network.

HBAnyware provides information on SAN status, including link failures and down conditions, as well as HBA asset information, which helps manage the infrastructure.

The newest version of HBAnyware offers out-of-band management, an addition to the products in-band management capabilities.

Out-of-band management uses the existing Ethernet infrastructure to provide the same types of capabilities as the product offers in-band, but the addition of out-of-band management capability offers organizations more flexibility in SAN management, said Mike Smith, Emulex executive vice president of worldwide marketing.

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By providing the out-of-band capability, HBAnyware can integrate with a variety of other network and management tools from other vendors, he explained.

"This way users can manage their SAN the way they want to manage it. They can choose any software tool they want that would use the data network and manage their SAN that way," Smith said.

Like the product suites in-band capabilities, HBAnyware 3.0s out-of-band management capability was built around the Authenticated CT protocol, a more secure method than password protection that provides a handshake between the server and remote nodes to ensure that no unauthorized access can occur, Smith said.

HBAnyware 3.0 also has upgraded online diagnostic functions—functions that can pinpoint HBA or fabric issues quickly, such as conducting a loopback test for a link and sending out a signal to ensure that the link is operating properly.

Online diagnostics also can help IT managers troubleshoot their SANs more quickly.

"We can get a driver dump that would download error codes and a full status of whats occurring on the link, so our tech support can do real-time troubleshooting and recommend a workaround or solution," Smith said.

Other features new to HBAnyware 3.0 include symbolic names that allow HBAs to be referenced with more intuitive identifiers, and enhanced enterprise usability features such as driver profiles and batch mode.

The addition of more enterprise usability features is key to helping IT managers make the transition from costly and unwieldy direct-attached storage in remote sites, workgroups and departments to SAN-based storage, Smith said.

"These features allow an IT manager to define prewritten scripts that configure the drivers and adjust all of the settings, basically creating a recipe for the driver install that can be deployed across the corporation," he said.

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"It allows for automated, replicated installs and much more flexibility of management, and more powerful diagnostics and troubleshooting," Smith added.

Upgrading its HBA management suite makes sense for Emulex and its customer on many levels, said James Opfer, a research vice president at Gartner Research, based in Stamford, Conn.

In addition to providing more functionality for its customers, the move will help ensure that organizations continue to purchase Emulex HBAs, thus helping it compete with QLogic of Aliso Viejo, Calif., its primary rival, he said.

Emulex expects to continue improving HBAnyware to keep pace with its customers needs. Future enhancements likely will focus on accommodating the use of virtualized servers and advanced security—two areas Smith said are focal points for Emulex customers.

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