One-Day Storage Problem Solver

NetScout system lets managers quickly find and fix glitches that slow storage area networks
Network administrators have a host of tools to help them identify and fix problems on IP networks. But those in charge of Fibre Channel-based storage area networks usually have to manually work their way through a multivendor maze of controllers, bus adapters, hard disks, and switches to find the problem that's slowing the flow of data.

NetScout Systems Inc., a leading vendor of network monitoring and management systems, this week will add storage-network management to its offerings. NetScout will enhance its nGenius Performance Management System 1.4 to include storage area networks and offer monitoring probes that can be installed throughout a SAN. The probes start at $19,995.

The system is designed to let storage administrators set historical baselines and trend reporting for SAN performance management, gain access to SAN islands from a multi-port configuration, and capture packets of data for decoding, all from a single interface.

Reliant Energy has 250 terabytes of data on six SANs from four vendors. It could take up to six weeks to fix a problem involving SAN performance, says Barry Brazil, enterprise architect at Reliant. He estimates the NetScout tool will let him solve such problems in one day.

Brazil plans to consolidate Reliant Energy's six disparate SANs into one storage network over the next 18 months. "Without NetScout," says Brazil, "we'd never get there."

NetScout is offering the first SAN management tool that overcomes the problem of multivendor storage networks by attaching monitoring probes to all the devices on the SAN, says Infonetics Research analyst Neil Osipuk. It also gives users a single enterprise view of local area, wide area, and storage area networks. "Users of NetScout should be able to keep the SAN up and running smoothly," he says. "And they can identify and fix problems before they turn into major problems."

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