March 5th, 2019 by Adam Armstrong
Brocade SAN Health Overview
A few years ago Brocade (now a division of Broadcom) released a tool that runs diagnostic checks on SAN devices, SAN Health. The tool looks at things such as storage network performance and inventory reports to help prevent possible issues and optimize operations for the SAN. The tool is free to use, takes one minute to install, three minuets to run an audit, and is said to have no impact on network performance.
SAN Health has two components: SAN Health Diagnostics Capture utility and SAN Health Professional framework. Downloading and running the utility allows it to inventory devices, switches, firmware versions, and SAN fabrics. The tool can capture and display historical performance data, compare zoning and switch configurations against best practices, assess performance statistics and error conditions, and then produce detailed graphical reports and diagrams. No more manually tracking any of its components, admins will be able to quickly and easily look over the data produced for potion issues and to see if steps implemented to improve matters helps over time.
SAN Health can go through several different components and software including SAN switches from both Brocade and CISCO MDS, storage products from several vendors including NetApp, Dell EMC, Hitachi, HPE, and IBM, multiple different protocols including FCP, FC-NVMe, and FICON, and host bus adapters including HBAs Emulex, QLogic and others. The tool will collect configuration information and logs for all of the above. If one part has an issue (e.g. firmware out of date or the version is causing issues), admins will be able to quickly see this and make the necessary corrections.
SAN Health Diagnostics Capture collects all of the data and generates a Visio topology diagram and a detailed report of SAN fabrics, switches, and individual ports. This is a point-in-time snapshot of the SAN that can be used for change tracking and changes are implemented. Once the reports are generated customers can leverage SAN Health Professional framework that gives them advanced search functionality and inventory tracking.
The question should be asked, who is this for? Simply, any customer that is running a SAN with a Fibre Channel Fabric could download the tool and run it for potential benefits. Not only can the tool optimize a system, it can provide users with detailed documentation of their SAN helping to avoid potential issues down the road. Broadcom is said to return a report to users within 48 hours though some report much faster turn around times.
Several benefits can be had through this free tool with no real reason not to try it out.