Hitachi enters server, network monitoring business

It offers three new monitoring applications aimed at providing a holistic, single-pane view of the data center

Hitachi Data Systems Tuesday announced the release of three new software products to provide enhanced monitoring of business applications, virtualized servers and the storage they use.

Hitachi said the products address a new market for the storage systems and software provider: a holistic view of everything that an enterprise uses to connect to its storage systems. The products will also work with competing vendors' systems.

The Hitachi IT Operations Analyzer is an application aimed at midsize companies that provides a single-pane view of data center servers and IP networks, as well as Fibre Channel storage-area networks, LANs and the storage hardware attached through those networks. Hitachi said the application provides performance and availability monitoring across heterogeneous servers, networks and storage systems.

"It's certainly a new kind of product for Hitachi in that they obviously come from a storage background. I think this is a first-generation effort to really reach beyond storage and offer customers and channel partners visibility into both network servers and storage," said Mary Johnston Turner, an analyst at IDC.

Turner said Hitachi will likely use the IT Operations Analyzer as a platform for other monitoring tools in the future. The software features automated root-cause analysis and network visualization and runs off an agentless architecture. It has a Web-based interface.

"It uses I/O path awareness to look at bottlenecks proactively so there's no need for active monitoring or the setting of thresholds," said Sean Moser, vice president of software at Hitachi Data Systems.

Moser said Hitachi's IT Operations Analyzer is designed to help users monitor and improve customer service levels and can easily be managed across a data center without requiring specialized training.

Hitachi's second release, its Virtual Server Reporter (VSR), uses Aptare Inc.'s StorageConsole to provide an end-to-end view of virtualized VMware servers and their respective storage usage. VSR is intended for enterprise installations and extends the capabilities of heterogeneous storage management reporting to individual virtual machines.

VSR is an agentless application that automatically discovers all ESX server deployments and then monitors hardware capacity and CPU utilization. The application can automatically load-balance workload across virtual machine server deployments, "and it helps customers find spare capacity across their server footprint," Moser said.

VSR works independently of storage installations, which is a first for Hitachi Data Systems, a storage-centric vendor.

Moser said that by integrating the reporting of virtual servers, users can increase the visibility of their virtual environments and more effectively manage the storage and backups associated with virtual machines, allowing them to make the best use of storage assets and decrease costs.

Hitachi's third product is the Storage Command Portal, which consolidates storage reporting within the Hitachi Storage Command Suite of management software to report on Hitachi storage systems and the business applications that rely on them.

The software provides a business application view of the Hitachi storage environment, with capacity and performance reporting to help manage service-level agreements.

Hitachi's IT Operations Analyzer is available immediately for a 30-day free trial download. After the trial, users can purchase the product for $5,000, which covers a 25-node installation, maintenance and support.

Hitachi Virtual Server Reporter software is priced at US$1,500 per VMware ESX server (independent of the number of virtual machines).

Hitachi Storage Command Portal is priced on a base server plus the appropriate number of data access licenses, which is equivalent to the number of Hitachi Device Manager and Hitachi Tuning Manager servers from which the portal pulls data. The list price of the Hitachi Storage Command Portal base server is $15,000, and the data access license list price is $5,000 each.

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