QLogic Uses Partner Confab To Show SAN Assessment Tool, Talk Low Power

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The Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based manufacturer of SAN components unveiled a partnership with software vendor Onaro to design SAN assessment tools that enable solution providers to offer assessments as a service.

Also new this week is an upgrade to QLogic's director-class Fibre Channel switch, which adds automatic failover capabilities. In addition, QLogic disclosed its entry as a contributing member into The Green Grid, a nonprofit consortium focused on increasing the energy efficiency of data centers and business computing ecosystems.

Frank Berry, vice president of corporate marketing for QLogic, said his company is licensing the SANscreen storage assessment tool from Onaro. SANscreen provides solution providers and their customers with a service view into a SAN's access paths, redundancy, replication and performance to help improve their ability to provision, troubleshoot and plan capacity on the SAN, Berry said.

The Onaro SANscreen SAN assessment tools will initially be targeted at QLogic's top 15 solution providers, with training on the tool to be provided by Onaro, said David Zimmer, senior director of worldwide channels for QLogic. Once the program is running, the tool will then be offered to other solution providers. The schedule for rolling it out to the channel has yet to be determined, he said.

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John Dusek, president and owner of Convergent Storage Solutions, an Apple Valley, Minn.-based storage solution provider, said having access to a SAN assessment tool could help mitigate a major problem companies such as his face: how to convince customers to go the extra step to help ensure their SANs are tied specifically to their own business needs.

Dusek said it's human nature for a company to do a P.O. for the SAN, but then put off spending a little extra for optimizing the SAN for applications like Microsoft Exchange, or making sure the SAN is tied into a disaster recovery process. "They need to pull in another whole group of people and then start over again," he said.

A SAN assessment tool would be helpful in getting the extra funding from a client's financial department, Dusek said. "The financial guys say, 'We've already spent $500,000 on a SAN, why spend more?'" he said. "We can then talk about how we can add resiliency and a disaster recovery plan."

Another way QLogic is helping solution providers build resilient SANs is by adding fault tolerance to its SANbox 9000, a 4U-high Fibre Channel director-class switch the company introduced last fall. Up to two of the 128-port devices can be stacked together.

However, starting soon, solution providers will be able to sell customers a software license that allows the CPU/management module of two stacked SANbox 9000s to auto-failover to each other, Berry said. "If there is a failure, the other takes over, so all ports remain live," he said.

A license for the auto-failover option is priced at $9,300, Berry said.

The SANbox 9000s, which list for about $50,000 each, are priced much less than similar products from Cisco and Brocade, said Dusek. "The fault-tolerant upgrade will be good for the midmarket," he said. "It will be good for adding resiliency to customers' SANs."

QLogic's decision to join The Green Grid is important to the company and its channel because of its investment in low-power consumption products, including the SANbox 9000, Berry said.

For a 128-port configuration, Berry said the SANbox 9000 draws about 620 watts of power, compared to 2,900 watts for a similar configuration using Cisco or either 1,100 watts or 2,500 watts from Brocade, depending on which model is used.

"All future products from QLogic will also be targeted at cutting power consumption," he said.