Network Appliance Adds SRM to NAS Devices

Network Appliance Inc. teamed with HighGround Systems Inc. to deliver automated storage capacity and performance monitoring solutions for Network Appliance’s network attached storage (NAS) devices.

Network Appliance’s (www.netapp.com) NetApp file servers, nicknamed "filers," are specialized storage appliances that attach directly to a network to provide access to stored data.

HighGround’s (www.highground.com) Storage Resource Manager (SRM) is automated storage reporting, event management, and forecasting software for Windows NT, Unix, Linux, and Microsoft Exchange. The companies are planning to certify the solution for Windows 2000 in the near future. While not certified, company officials say it currently runs on Windows 2000 Server and Advanced Server.

With SRM added to NetApp systems, NetApp filers will appear in SRM’s view of the enterprise storage infrastructure. Administrators will be able to centrally monitor the capacity, use and performance of logical NetApp partitions, the raw capacity of physical partitions, and device status and availability through SRM’s Web console.

Management statistics from NetApp filers will be collected in SRM’s database, creating a knowledgebase of storage intelligence that persists through IT staff changes.

The companies say IT managers will be able to roll out new applications faster and plan the purchase of additional NetApp filer capacity more accurately by using SRM’s space utilization, user consumption, and application profiling trends.

The solution is designed to meet what the companies consider the critical elements of storage networking, such as planning for and use of SANs, integrating NAS, realizing the differences, storage consolidation, and server consolidation.

"We’ll be adding more and more of these elements into this view," says Joel Reich, vice president of marketing at HighGround.

Michael Peterson, president of Strategic Research Corp. (www.sresearch.com), says the overall solution fills a gap in the management of NetApp filers.

SRM, however, only drills down into such detail for NetApp filers, but other vendors' NAS devices will show up in SRM. HighGround’s Reich says administrators can use SRM to view the logical partitions on NAS boxes from vendors other than Network Appliance. Reich wouldn’t say whether or not HighGround plans to team with other NAS vendors to offer SRM with their systems.

The two companies, however, developed a specification enabling SRM to communicate with the NAS devices.

"We’re working with the SNIA to make our solution a standard," he says. "Our goal is that the specification we developed will work with more NAS companies and have the information pulled into SRM’s view."

Dave Becker, manager of enterprise marketing at Network Appliance, says SRM can benefit more vendors than just Network Appliance.

"There will be other vendors up and down the NAS continuum that want to take advantage of this type of technology," he says.

Becker also points out that SRM enables NetApp filers to become a pure member of a SAN environment for companies that have both technologies implemented into their networks.

Becker says Network Appliance is still looking to partner with other vendors for various storage tools. "This agreement with HighGround is about looking at storage holistically," he says. "Administrators can get a legitimate look at storage resources and plan for growth."

"As the IT community deploys NAS and SAN technologies in the storage infrastructure, storage resource management applications become essential enablers," Strategic Research’s Peterson says.