CA Debuts Storage Management Portal

BrightStor Portal centralizes the administration of CA and third-party storage management applications.

Computer Associates Int’l Inc. (CA) this week introduced BrightStor Portal, a solution that facilitates a central point of administration for CA’s storage resource management (SRM) products as well as SRM products from other vendors.

BrightStar Portal uses CA’s own BrightStor CA-1, BrightStor ARCServe Backup, BrightStor SAN Manager, and BrightStor SRM tools to manage physical storage resources such as hard disk arrays or tape libraries. In addition, CA has tapped a number of other vendors (Brocade Communication Systems Inc., Network Appliance and Fort Hill Systems Inc., among others) to develop BrightStor Portal-compliant management agents for their own management products.

CA has also written management agents for the NetWorker and NetBackup SRM solutions from Legato Systems Inc. and Veritas Software.

The result, says Phil Treide, vice president of CA’s BrightStor brand unit, is that his company’s new portal solution provides a single point of administration for many of the most popular applications that manage enterprise storage resources.

“It enables users to integrate the applications they have today, whether they’re CA or not, into a single Web-based environment,” he says. “They basically can see all of their storage applications operating, they can contact those applications and report on their status, and bring that information up to a place where they can consolidate and use it.”

Arun Taneja, a senior analyst with storage consultancy Enterprise Storage Group, acknowledges that almost all vendors currently provide Web-based management tools, but remarks that CA’s portal solution, which purports to obtain information from disparate SRM tools and present it in a “single-paned view,” is unique.

“The concept of having a Web-based management tool is not unique…but if there’s a desire there to give you a Web-based single-paned view into all of your storage resources, then that’s a step in the right direction,” he says.

Taneja notes that storage vendors such as Hitachi Data Systems, IBM Corp., or EMC Corp. have traditionally attempted to address storage management at the device level. To the extent that Hitachi’s SRM product HiCommand is able to manage IBM’s Shark storage arrays, it’s because of an API-sharing agreement between the two companies. CA, on the other hand, proposes to extract data not from storage devices themselves but from the tools that manage them.

BrightStor Portal features an installation wizard that discovers compatible SRM applications and configures them. From there, it presents an overview of these applications at the portal level—what CA calls a “knowledge tree”—which customers can also customize to provide different views. In this regard, Treide says, it’s possible to build portal environments tailored for the needs of either storage administrators or corporate CIOs.

Treide positions BrightStar Portal as a first step in CA’s effort to deliver an SRM suite that manages all aspects of enterprise storage. To that end, he says, over the next year and a half his company will introduce a complementary solution that facilitates automation of storage resource provisioning.

According to Treide, sometime next year CA plans to revisit the packaging of its BrightStor products. At that time, he says, the software giant could conceivably market bundles of its BrightStor SRM or BrightStor SAN products in tandem with the BrightStor Portal.

“SRM and the portal are clearly products that are extremely complementary,” he observes. “SRM is providing some of the low-level information, [and] it’s the portal that provides the high-level automation and manageability. That’s certainly an area that you would expect us to do a bundle.”

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.