Northern Storage Suite Integrates New Storage Assistant Module

Northern Storage Assistant automates system optimization and eliminates manual tasks associated with storage resource management

TAMPA, FL - June 8, 2004 - Northern, global providers of Windows-based storage resource management software solutions, today announced the release of Northern Storage Assistant (NSA), the newest module in the Northern Storage Suite. Northern Storage Assistant monitors an organization's storage infrastructure 24x7, optimizing system, storage resource and IT staff efficiency -- automatically, transparently, persistently. Northern Storage Assistant can be configured to trigger pre-emptive action -- before to-do-lists become unmanageable, storage points fill up, performance lags and data availability becomes compromised -- without the need for IT intervention.

Thomas Vernersson, Northern President, said, "Northern Storage Suite will give today's typically over-extended IT staff an invaluable administration tool that will save untold hours - time that can now be spent attending to other tasks. NSA simplifies the process of optimizing even the most complex and far-flung network environment. Easy-to-configure and virtually self-maintaining, NSA s a boon to organizations charged with doing more with less. The new module makes Northern Storage Suite the most flexible, feature-rich, and fully automated SRM system available."

A Storage "Assistant" is built by linking an event (or multiple events) to an action (or multiple actions). An administrator selects events to monitor, which can be based on time, calendar, file, Internet or system events. These events are then coupled to desired actions which are triggered; these can include deleting, moving, copying, uploading or downloading files, replicating directories, executing programs or sending notifications. Operations such as moving files owned by redundant user accounts, deleting recreational files, triggering a flush or backup sequence can all now be performed in the background without interruption to routine business processes.

A number of features built into NSA afford Admins maximum control over their Assistants; this includes the ability to: create relationships between different actions and events as well as between separate Assistants, connect components of an assistant more closely by allowing results to be passed between them, and count the number of occurrences and create fault-tolerance systems.

Real World Examples of NSA in Action

  • Automating management of files unrelated to business activity: An Assistant can be configured to watch for specified file types (i.e., MP3, AVI, JPG, MPG, etc.), which are then moved to a designated directory or deleted. Eliminating or centralizing the storage of such files simplifies management, speeds backup (since now only business files are included in backup routines), and improves overall system performance.

  • Automating sequential operations: An Assistant can be configured to automate a chain of related activities. For instance, an Assistant can ensure the backup process is run after the source has been defragmented, or after all regional sales statistics have been uploaded to a central store. Automating these operations assures that all steps are followed in proper sequence - consistently.

  • Scheduling Operations: The International Sales Manager is downloading records of all sales transactions from each regional office during office hours and saving them on the file server, which consumes valuable bandwidth and creates multiple copies of files that are included in two backup cycles. An Assistant can trigger a File Copy action based on a Calendar Event; via the VPN connection a sales report can be automatically routed to the International Sales Manager's desktop - thus preserving bandwidth, streamlining back up and restore times, and eliminating multiple copies of identical files.

  • Automatic migration of old files: An Assistant can be configured to check each user's share every Sunday evening for files that have not been accessed in the last six months. Once these files are found, they can be automatically compressed and moved to a low cost storage device or sent to a directory designated for old files.

Northern Storage Assistant is available as a standalone application or integrated with Northern Storage Suite, a complete SRM package that provides a unique solution to a widely shared problem: managing storage resources efficiently, reliably, cost-effectively. The Northern Storage Suite contains five core modules (including NSC), which can make up a complete storage management backbone or be implemented separately to extend the functionality -- and increase the value -- of existing SRM components.

  • Quota Server: system administrators can set storage quotas on disk objects such as directories, file, and individual user and/or group accounts. In addition, administrators can apply file-blocking quotas to remove entire file types from their systems. Quota Server supports Active Directory and Microsoft Exchange Quotas, and includes a wizard-based means of developing and implementing storage policies, a new central database for more flexibility and control over resources, and more.

  • Storage Reporter: allows system admins to gather data and identify storage usage patterns, access file use, identify unwanted data, locate wasted space, recover storage costs and more. Storage Reporter enables admins to drill down to specific host groups, volume, user and mailboxes, and generate customized reports.

  • Storage Portal: introduces the "self-service" model to storage management. Through a web interface, the Northern Storage Portal keeps users informed of their storage use and provides them with the knowledge and tools needed to manage their allotted storage space. The Storage Portal enables system admins to keep informed of individual data trends, status of their storage resources, and quotas.

  • Storage Chargeback: assigns a price to increments of storage, making users (departments, individuals, etc.) accountable for the space they consume. Northern Storage Chargeback also assures that storage resources are accounted for, and provides internal and external billing - enabling organizations to 'charge back' the cost of storage to the end-user.

About Northern

Northern is an international software company specializing in the development of reliable, flexible and easy to use solutions for Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 storage administration.

In North America, contact at 1.800.881.4950 or sales@northern.net. Other customer should visit Northern's Reseller page at http://www.northern.net.