New offerings buttress SANs

Sun, IBM, Vixel aimto ease managementBy Sonia R. Lelii InPoughkeepsie, N.

Sun, IBM, Vixel aim to ease management
By Sonia R. Lelii In Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
April 3, 2000 12:00 AM

Sun Microsystems Inc., IBM and Vixel Corp. are pumping up the volume on storage by offering new services and software that give IT managers greater control over deployment and management of SANs.

Sun this week will announce the availability of an enhancement to its SRS (Sun Remote Services) offering that allows company technicians to remotely monitor, diagnose and fix Sun storage devices at customer sites.

Separately, IBM last week committed $400 million to build new storage area network testing labs and to build up its SAN services.

For its part, switch maker Vixel, of Bothell, Wash., this week will unveil its first foray into software with SAN InSite 2000, a Web-based application for managing storage devices from a variety of firms in a single interface.

Sun's SRS 2.0 service links Sun hardware running at customer sites to one of several of the company's worldwide solution centers. When a system experiences a failure, SRS alerts the center, which can take corrective action or alert the IT department at the customer site.

New in Version 2.0 are monitoring capabilities for storage devices, operating systems and applications. Version 1.0 monitored only server hardware.

The Palo Alto, Calif., company also will introduce its Sun Storage Product Watch, which lets Sun engineers remotely track performance of the company's storage systems to identify common errors that need to be eliminated in upgrades of the systems. Both SRS 2.0 and Storage Product Watch are free with Sun's service package.

The SRS upgrade is a godsend to Colgate-Palmolive Co., which has junior system administrators who may find it difficult to explain errors to Sun technicians. This tool helps get to fixes quicker, said Maria Zuliani, manager of enterprise systems, in Piscataway, N.J. But the tool is not likely to get the company much closer to building the SAN it has on its road map for next year. Colgate-Palmolive is encountering the typical hurdles of modernizing its older system as standards for the fragmented SAN market continue to be hammered out.

At IBM, based in Armonk, N.Y., the SAN-building effort is centered on getting customers over those hurdles. The investment announced last week will be used to build centers in Montpellier, France, and Makuhari, Japan, for customers to prototype and test SANs. These are part of an effort to build with partners 50 SAN Solution Centers worldwide, officials said.

Such centers likely will work in concert with other IBM centers for designing e-commerce solutions. IBM launched its Design Center for E-business Transactions here last week. Within three weeks, IBM will announce a plan to link the SAN and e-commerce centers, said Paul Fried, director of the Poughkeepsie Design Center.


More players on the SAN bandwagon

COMPANY INITIATIVE
Sun Upgraded Sun Remote Services software to work on storage devices, operating systems and applications
  Introduced Sun Storage Product Watch, which lets Sun remotely track performance of its storage systems
IBM Opening SAN solution testing labs in France and Japan
  Plans to tie SAN lab in France to a new e-transactions design center
  Expanded storage services to help customers deploy SANs
Vixel Developed SAN InSite 2000 software to manage SANs