Netapp’s purchase of Onaro (maker of storage network management software) closed Tuesday, 1/29. See the previous announcement here. The big fish eats the little fish….Netapp has about 6600 employees, Onaro has about 50.
Onaro claims penetration into 32% of the Fortune 50 – that will include some mighty big storage area networks (SANs). Having Netapp backing them up should definitely put some muscle behind Onaro’s development teams.
Onaro, for those not in the know, monitors the coming and goings of a SAN, measuring the traffic through, say a fibre port, and keeping track of what’s connected to what. One of the neat things about the software is its ability to verify that the leg bone really is connected to the knee bone… for instance, say you want to launch a new VM or hook a server to the SAN but you’re not sure everything is connected correctly to do that – well, that’s were Onaro’s software comes in. It provides a picture of the parts and pieces in a SAN so that you can tell what’s what and lets you know when things change. Nice.
Maybe not coincidently, Onaro recently announced expanded support for server virtualization and NAS network storage environments – adding “end to end” visibility to the NAS topology as well as the SAN.
So now put it all together and you’ve got a pretty decent way to peer into the bowl of SAN and NAS spaghetti and keep tabs on all of it. And maybe best of all, given that Onaro’s software provides topology intelligence, when the datacenter folks start switching SAN cables or equipment around, Onaro’s software will help prevent inadvertently bringing down a VM environment and getting to find out just how good that disaster recovery plan really is.
Now the question – will Onaro disappear into the Netapp labyrinth? And how will customers, not inclined to deal with Netapp, get at it? This is often an issue when small independent outfits get recognized for their good works and end up in the hands of a big player. Certainly Onaro is a nice gem to add to Netapp’s collection, assuming Onaro scales down to smaller environments, but one has to wonder what will happen when non Netapp shops come looking for this snazzy piece of software.
All in all this could be a big win for Netapp. It ties nicely into ReplicatorX, for instance, making sure the necessary SAN topology is in place to create replicates. As long as NetApp can keep the current Onaro base happy and bring in new players, who may not want the whole Netapp package, life will be good.
On a slight tangent, given that Onaro can help insure levels of service within a SAN topology, here’s a suggestion: marry the Onaro offering to a business continuity platform such as offered by (cleverly named) Continuity Software - a little startup (aren’t they all) out of Israel.
Continuity Software sells a package intended to scan an environment for databases and email to, first of all, know that they are there, and then secondly, to point out the sometimes embarrassing fact that some of those data sets are not being replicated as thought. It easy to get in this situation when moving data hither and yon in the course of doing business as is likely when deploying virtual machines and new storage.
Replication schedules may be in place but incomplete – leaving out data sets that have been added or moved. Imagine if an admin can not only get a handle on the SAN topology hooking servers and storage together but also, as an added bonus, ensure that data protect schemes are properly replicating the right stuff connected by that topology.
So, as Onaro tracks a SAN’s topology, performance bottlenecks and changes to it, in similar fashion, business continuity software could, as offered by Continuity Software, be tracking data additions and changes and whether that data is properly hooked into a protection scheme. From a business continuity consolidation point of view, combining these two functions into a common pane of glass could be a nice step towards SAN management consolidation and simplification.
[Posted by Gene Ruth]