Tivoli Answers SAN Users' Request For Standards - InformationWeek

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Tivoli Answers SAN Users' Request For Standards

Customers try to make it simple for storage area network vendors. They ask only that it all work together. Since a SAN almost always includes products from multiple vendors, the request is critical. Yet unless customers lock themselves in with a single vendor for it all, data won't be able to move from point A to point B.

IBM's Tivoli systems and storage management unit has introduced Storage Network Manager, a product that could help in the battle for SAN interoperability. The product is based on an ANSI standard and is available immediately. Customers will be able to set policies with the network manager so it monitors and steers data movement based on thresholds and parameters established by storage administrators. The new product also acknowledges capacity on demand, which lets customers increase storage capacity on the fly and pay for it as they go. Pricing starts at $3,400 for a 32-bit Wintel server with four processors or less and $6,820 for a Unix server with four processors.

ANSI's T11 standards organization created the Fibre Channel Methodologies for Interconnects profile for standardized discovery and management when creating Fibre Channel-based SANs. Tivoli's network manager incorporates the FC-MI standard. But most importantly, the ANSI standard has been endorsed by competing storage vendors such as Compaq, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, and Sun Microsystems.

While the network manager and ANSI support by competing vendors is a good start toward giving SAN customers what they need, companies still have a long way to go before they can easily deploy heterogeneous SANs. Each vendor must run its system with every other system in a lab and understand what it takes to build such an infrastructure. That way, when something inevitably doesn't work when a customer implements a heterogeneous SAN for the first time, the vendor can do something besides point a finger at the other guy.

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