From Chaos to Control: StorageCeNTral 4.1
Is poor data storage management putting you through "network hell?" Perhaps a software-based storage management solution can save you.
- By Tony Northrup
StorageCeNTral is the most refined of the storage-management
products reviewed here. Actually, it’s a package
that combines two products: QuotaAdvisor and DiskAdvisor.
These products, also available separately, integrate
well; both appear as child windows within the
StorageCeNTral application. StorageCeNTral also
incorporates trend-analysis features.
Like Quota Server, StorageCeNTral monitors disk
space usage and can take several actions if a
threshold is reached. By far, StorageCeNTral is
the most flexible of the three products reviewed
in this article. It can send emails, trigger SNMP
alerts, add events to event logs, execute commands
and run reports. The SNMP alerts are particularly
useful for those who use a network management
tool. StorageCeNTral’s event logging is more useful
than that provided by Win2K, Quota Server, or
SpaceGuard, as it provides for logging to a central
event log server. This way, you can have all your
network servers add events to a central server,
making it easier for you to parse.
I also found that StorageCeNTral has excellent
integration into Win2K. From the standard Explorer
interface, you can right-click on a directory
and choose Set Quota. This brings up a wizard-like
dialog that helps you set thresholds and alerts.
There’s also support for Microsoft Cluster Servers,
though I didn’t have the luxury of testing that
aspect of the product. The extra level of integration
goes a long way and helps make StorageCeNTral
my favorite product of the three reviewed in this
Still, nothing is perfect, and StorageCeNTral
has its share of flaws. The help files tell nothing
more than how to use the user interface, with
ridiculous phrases such as, “Choose ‘Send to Event
Log’ if you want to send the message to the event
log.” The included manuals are only slightly more
helpful. But fortunately, StorageCeNTral is reasonably
intuitive; administrators with a good understanding
of storage management concepts should feel comfortable
with the product after about an hour of use.
Reports, as shown in the figure, are simple and
informative with StorageCeNTral. They can be exported
into delimited text, HTML, and DBF formats. But
they cannot be delivered directly into an ODBC
database like Quota Server can do.
|StorageCeNTral’s Space Monitor gives
you a bird’s-eye view of your network storage
image to see larger version.)
As I stated earlier, StorageCeNTral is the most
refined of the products reviewed in this piece,
and, yes, it’s also the most expensive. But if
you’re serious about storage management on your
Win2K servers, download the free trial version
from the WQuinn Web site and see if it fits your needs.
Tony Northrup, MCSE, Compaq ASE, lives in the Boston area and is currently
a systems architect at Genuity. He’s the author of Introducing Windows
2000 Server (Microsoft Press) and NT Network Plumbing (IDG Books), and
co-author of Networking Essentials Unleashed (SAMS Publishing).