Rebranded Storage Fusion adds server virtualisation analysis

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Storage analysis software developer Storage Fusion today launched (Storage Fusion) Virtualize to extend the scope of its infrastructure from virtual servers to their storage. Virtualize complements its flagship Storage Resource Analysis product, which is now re-branded as Analyze.

Operations Director Peter White told me the move was partly a response to customer requests. It reflects the changing landscape in which more and more users use VMware server virtualisation and/or access their resources from the cloud. Analyze is also enhanced, with seven new dashboards.

The young UK-based company has been making a marketing push during 2012. Fruits of this include a major company re-branding, with a new website appearance (royal blue replaced by purple) and a new strap-line “insight delivered”. White painted a rosy picture of a growing company that was recruiting new staff and signing up new partners – with the existing software well received (but was not yet able to quote firm figures or offer client success stories to back this up).

The Virtualize and Analyze “Z” spellings hint at the company’s aim for stronger US and global penetration. They are stand-alone with neither dependent on the other but to achieve a full virtual machine (VM) to heterogeneous SAN storage analysis picture, both should be deployed. Currently, Virtualize is entirely for VMware users (with storage scripts using vSphere APIs). White confirmed that there were no current plans for Microsoft or other virtualisation environments.

Both solutions are agentless and there is no software to install as it uses SaaS delivery through a single web interface; this provides a scripted data collection which is non-disruptive and runs in a few minutes. Importantly for many, no training is needed to run this. However, the software’s greatest asset is probably its ability to produce meaningful assessment results in next to no time (e.g. within an hour) without operational disruption or the need for an expensive IT expert. Then, as it is priced according to infrastructure size, there is value to be had by all sizes of business.

Amongst the high-level data displayed by Virtualize are the host systems with all the guest VMs and the operating system each is running – linking to the storage resources deployed. Indeed, White said this was tied back right to the storage LUN, which he believed was a unique feature.

Storage Fusion perceives a major benefit as the ability to identify storage (and VM) wastage (including where tier 1 and high availability storage is unnecessary). This is used for reclaiming storage, justifying the cost of thin provisioning by the savings it will achieve, and better assessment of storage protection levels; trend analysis that can identify the speed of capacity expansion will also help in planning for future hardware purchases.

White described the primary problem the software addressed: historically, larger enterprises separately deployed application specialists who requested servers and also more storage, a server team who provisioned servers and requested storage, and a storage team who provisioned storage – each team using its own tools to assess needs. This produced huge inefficiencies hurting operational performance and profitability; virtualisation and the cloud made this structure even less tenable.

For storage consultants and SIs who already use Analyze, Virtualize will extend the scope and value of their storage assessments, providing information supporting all such disparate teams. (Both solutions are offered in Enterprise and Consultant editions.)

Finally, I have not referred to this as Storage Resource Management (SRM) software because White stressed that Analyze and Virtualize were “complementary to SRM tools for higher-level management” so not actually SRM. Despite this, he said Gartner had included it in its SRM magic quadrant as a “visionary” (and Storage Fusion must have paid for the privilege of being there).