Onaro Seeks to Make SANs Work Better

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Storage area networks (SANs) can be complex and unwieldy, and Onaro hopes to do something about it.

The company announced its SAN strategy Monday, along with $7.75 million in second-round funding, but product details will have to wait for the company’s official product launch later this quarter.

Still, the company’s adept understanding of SAN complexity and its plans to address SAN availability are drawing early raves from analysts.

“One of the challenges SAN storage administrators face is how to scale SANs upward without disrupting the IT production environment,” says Data Mobility
Group founder and senior analyst John Webster. “Onaro’s solution is unique in its ability to model proposed changes to existing SAN configurations and identify errors and vulnerabilities beforehand.”

Onaro CEO Shai Scharf says the company is the first “to provide complete SAN availability assurance.”

70% of SANs have brownouts once a month, Scharf claims, and most errors are attributable to changes made to the SAN, with their “exploding” access paths
and complexity.

In an effort to be as unobtrusive as possible — a necessity for an unknown start-up — Onaro asked potential customers to “type in a few CLI commands and send us the output,” Scharf told Enterprise Storage Forum.

In just three potential customers, the Onaro software revealed hundreds of violations and vulnerabilities, including redundancy and host port violations, missing paths, blocked hosts, and LUN sharing and zoning vulnerabilities.

Onaro says its SANscreen Predictive Change Management software eliminates the time, cost, and complexity of changing and growing SANs by letting companies predict errors before, during, and after changes. The technology continuously accesses and analyzes a SAN’s millions of access paths, interdependencies, and relationships between devices, allowing companies to conduct root-cause analysis of problems.

The solution has no agents and installs quickly. “Within one hour, you have value,” states Scharf.

“For a two-bit company, it was completely important for us to be non-invasive,” says Onaro marketing director Steve Feldman.

The company has “more then eight” Fortune 500 customers so far, according to Scharf.

The two-year-old Boston firm was founded by Scharf and three Israeli military intelligence veterans: Product Development and Field Operations VP Roy Alon, chief scientist Raphael Yahalom, and product management VP Assaf Levy. Scharf says the founders applied intelligence industry techniques to capture and analyze complex SAN information.

Former Tivoli CEO Frank Moss, who will serve as chairman of Onaro’s executive advisory board, said in a statement that Onaro “calms the SAN beast, allowing SANs to grow at the speed of business. I predict huge success for Onaro and see their solution as mandatory for any SAN with more than six switches.”

The funding round was led by Cedar Fund and Newbury Ventures.

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for Time.com, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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