Brocade and EMC are teaming to automate management of storage area networks, or SAN. The companies will work to simplify management of joint EMC-Brocade SAN environments.
The companies promise the integration provides a more holistic view of storage networking resources to improve alert monitoring and correlation. The ultimate goal: to expedite issue resolution in highly virtualized and cloud environments.
In practice, all this means that Brocade Network Advisor SAN management software will be sold through EMC as Connectrix Manager Converged Network Edition (CMCNE). The software is now integrated with the newly released EMC ProSphere 1.6 cloud storage management software.
Combining Storage and SAN Management
With the software in place, storage administrators can navigate from ProSphere to CMCNE to evaluate alerts, analyze performance or make changes to their SAN switch infrastructure from one click on a single screen. The ProSphere/CMCNE integration also allows administrators to combine storage and SAN management functions. When paired with CMCNE, Brocade said ProSphere works in both physical and virtual environments so organizations can manage IT-as-a-Service by monitoring and analyzing service levels from end to end.
Specifically, ProSphere lets IT admins visualize relationships and application dependencies across physical and virtual environments, analyze storage services to improve service levels and optimize the storage infrastructure. CMCNE provides visibility and management of the network infrastructure to monitor, diagnose and improve performance. The promised result: better coordination between storage and data networking for provisioning, troubleshooting and reporting.
"With this new solution, storage administrators will be able to quickly identify SAN issues, triage the issue and, if necessary, launch into CMCNE for deeper analysis or reconfiguration of the Brocade switches," said Johan Marais, storage and virtualization administrator at Discovery, a financial services institution. "The partnership between EMC and Brocade enables us to better leverage these two best-of-breed tools to monitor, analyze and optimize our storage infrastructure for increased agility."
Management Software Evolution
We caught up with Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, to get his take on the news. He told us to expect to see more of these types of partnerships in the cloud era. That, he said, is because there has been plenty of emphasis on building converged network infrastructure platforms but less focus on management.
"When you look at the evolution of management software, it typically trails the technology by about two years. We didn't have network management tools for about two years after networks became in demand," Kerravala said.
"With the maturity cloud platforms, which are really converged network computing platforms, we are starting to get to the point where customers are moving out of the early adoption phase. That's where management tools are important. For EMC and Brocade, timing is everything. This is really the right time to take these types of tools to market."