IBM Network Advisor

IBM Redbooks Product Guide


Abstract

This IBM® Redbooks® Product Guide describes IBM Network Advisor Version 12.1. Although every network type has unique management requirements, most organizations face similar challenges managing their network environments. These challenges can include minimizing network downtime, reducing operational expenses, managing application service level agreements (SLAs) and providing robust security. Until now, no single tool has been able to address these needs across different network types.

Contents


This IBM® Redbooks® Product Guide describes IBM Network Advisor Version 12.1. Although every network type has unique management requirements, most organizations face similar challenges managing their network environments. These challenges can include minimizing network downtime, reducing operational expenses, managing application service level agreements (SLAs) and providing robust security. Until now, no single tool has been able to address these needs across different network types.

To address this issue, the IBM Network Advisor software management tool provides comprehensive management for data, storage, and converged networks. This single application can deliver end-to-end visibility and insight across different network types by integrating with Fabric Vision technology; it supports Fibre Channel SANs—including Gen 5 Fibre Channel platforms—IBM FICON® and IBM b-type SAN FCoE networks. In addition, this tool supports comprehensive lifecycle management capabilities across different networks through a simple, seamless user experience. Figure 1 shows IBM Network Advisor.

Figure 1.  IBM Network Advisor dashboard
Figure 1. IBM Network Advisor dashboard


Did you know?

IBM Network Advisor provides customizable dashboards to help you monitor your network.
You can use zoning impact analysis to preview changes in zoning without affecting a production fabric.


Product highlights

You can use IBM Network Advisor to gain these benefits:
  • Increase performance and reliability by providing proactive performance analysis and troubleshooting capabilities across storage area networks (SANs).
  • Simplify operations by providing centralized, end-to-end network management of SANs, including Gen 5 Fibre Channel platforms and IBM b-type SAN converged Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) environments.
  • Manage storage and data networks through a single instance of the product to simplify network management and provide greater flexibility, visibility and insight across environments through integration with Fabric Vision technology.
  • Help reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) by providing proactive performance analysis and troubleshooting capabilities.


Architecture and key components

IBM Network Advisor is designed to offer comprehensive Layer 2 configuration with simple data center bridging interface administration, FCoE port and trunk configurations, FCoE login management, and QoS. In addition, it provides these features:
  • Comprehensive support for Fibre Channel SANs, including b-type Gen 5 Fibre Channel platforms, with configuration (including SAN port diagnostics and bottleneck detection), zoning and visualization capabilities; also offers end-to-end views of host bus adapter (HBA) and converged network adapter (CNA), storage, and SAN fabric topology
  • Proactive best-practices validation of SAN configurations, including on-demand or scheduled operation, customization and “red flag” reporting, using the Policy Monitor tool
  • Configuration, monitoring, and optimization of Fibre Channel over IP (FCIP) tunnels across wide area network (WAN) links, including support for management of multiple FCIP circuits, configuration of FCIP failover circuits, automated setting of compression parameters, and configurable assignment of FCIP tunnel bandwidth to QoS classes, and also support for multi-gigabit FCIP circuits
  • An intuitive interface to help manage virtualized network environments
  • The ability to edit zone information and preview its impact without affecting production fabrics
  • FICON and cascaded FICON environment configuration and management, along with powerful analysis and diagnostic facilities

Proactive SAN management

IBM Network Advisor is a simple yet powerful software management tool that helps organizations ensure network availability and performance. Organizations can monitor network health with customizable dashboards that provide a summary of all discovered devices (see Figure 1). From these dashboards, administrators can drill down for more detail to rapidly identify problem areas and troubleshoot accordingly.

IBM Network Advisor includes other key capabilities that can help organizations proactively manage SAN:
  • Real-time and historical performance data reporting to help organizations gain visibility into in-depth performance measures and historical data for advanced troubleshooting and performance management (see Figure 2).
  • Network time and scope so administrators can set all dashboard widgets (by network type, time scope, or both) to easily troubleshoot and correlate errors.
  • VM-to-storage visibility by integrating with leading virtualization solutions such as VMware vCenter to provide VM-to-LUN visibility and management.
  • Event management so administrators can receive SNMP traps, syslog event messages, and customizable event alerts for monitoring, reporting, and analysis.
  • Advanced Call Home that automatically collects diagnostic information and sends notifications for faster fault diagnosis, isolation, and remote support operations.
  • Top Talkers to identify devices or ports with the most demanding traffic flows for proactive capacity planning.
  • Policy Monitor management to proactively validate SAN configurations with best-practices templates.

Simplified network management

The IBM Network Advisor software management platform unifies network management for SANs and converged networks. Designed to enable flexibility and better coordination between storage and data networking administrators, it delivers a consistent user interface, proactive performance analysis, and troubleshooting capabilities across installations. Overall, this management platform simplifies daily operations while improving the performance, availability and reliability of the SAN and converged networking environments.

IBM Network Advisor provides health and performance dashboards, with an easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI) and comprehensive features that automate repetitive tasks. With IBM Network Advisor, storage and network administrators can proactively manage their SAN environments to support non-stop networking, address issues before they impact operations, and minimize manual tasks.

IBM Network Advisor offers flexibility through deployment and operational models, including traditional SAN deployments (such as Fibre Channel and FICON) and end-to-end convergence (b-type FCoE).

IBM Network Advisor has the following key capabilities:
  • A customizable at-a-glance summary of all discovered b-type devices, including inventory and event summary information used to proactively identify problem areas and help prevent network downtime
  • Performance management, through customizable dashboards and historical data visibility
  • Support for the needs of different network teams through full role-based access control (RBAC) for both SAN and b-type FCoE management
  • Support for troubleshooting use cases with rapid navigation to identify problem areas
  • A device configuration wizard to configure and manage dynamically updated groups of devices
Additional capabilities are as follows:
  • Adapter management to configure multiple adapters simultaneously using consistent parameters and pulling global reports
  • Zoning configuration to configure devices logically into zones, such as Logical SAN (LSAN) zones or Boot LUN zones, to increase security and network availability (see Figure 2)
  • Zoning impact analysis to allow administrators to edit zone information and preview its impact without affecting a production fabric
  • Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) to enable organizations to define granular administrator roles and privileges to support the needs of different SAN network teams
Figure 2 shows how IBM Network Advisor can simplify configuring zones.

Figure 2. Zoning configuration capability
Figure 2. Zoning configuration capability


Integration with Fabric Vision technology

IBM Network Advisor can help organizations reduce network downtime through capabilities such as real-time and historical performance monitoring, traffic analysis, change management and policy-driven remedial actions. In addition, proactive alerts with real-time logging, and diagnostic and fault-isolation capabilities help resolve issues before they impact SLAs.

By integrating with Fabric Vision Technology, it provides the following items:
  • Monitoring and Alerting Policy Suite (MAPS) to configure and monitor data center fabrics based on a set of user-defined policies
  • Flow Vision to identify, monitor, and analyze application-level data flows to maximize network performance
  • Single-dialog bulk configuration to reduce time spent on repetitive tasks by deploying MAPS policies and rules across the fabric from a single dialog
  • ClearLink Diagnostics to run diagnostic tests on optics and cables to quickly identify and isolate potential fabric issues
  • Bottleneck Detection to automatically monitor and detect network congestion in the fabric, and identify which devices or hosts are impacted by a bottlenecked port
  • Port Profiles to easily configure network policies for ports with risk tolerance-based templates, including server ports, storage ports, and E_Ports

Optimized application performance

Through its comprehensive dashboard, which is highly customizable on a per-user basis, IBM Network Advisor users have an at-a-glance view into the performance, events and inventory in their SANs. From this dashboard, users can manage and monitor their networks, regardless of network type.

In addition, IBM Network Advisor can seamlessly manage multiple network infrastructures to help optimize application performance, manage SLAs, and maximize the availability of data and networked resources. Organizations can use leading-edge capabilities to help with these tasks:
  • Proactively monitor, troubleshoot, diagnose and provide event notification regarding critical health information at varying levels of detail
  • Configure quality of service (QoS) priorities to optimize the performance of applications running on physical and virtual servers
  • Collect and display performance statistics in real time and use historical views for proactive problem determination

For all b-type SAN switches, including Gen 5 Fibre Channel platforms, IBM Network Advisor provides detailed monitoring of port and link utilization against predefined and user-configurable thresholds to help optimize network performance.

Flexible network management platform

Built on a standards-based architecture, IBM Network Advisor can now scale from small network islands to large, geographically dispersed networks. Organizations can reduce operational expenditures by using the same management solution across different environments, including data centers, enterprise campuses, and service provider networks.

Data center networks

IBM Network Advisor is designed to offer comprehensive Layer 2 configuration with simple data center bridging interface administration, FCoE port and trunk configurations, FCoE login management, and QoS. In addition, it provides these features:
  • Comprehensive support for Fibre Channel SANs, including b-type Gen 5 Fibre Channel platforms, with configuration (including SAN port diagnostics and bottleneck detection), zoning and visualization capabilities. It also offers end-to-end views of host bus adapter (HBA) and converged network adapter (CNA), storage, and SAN fabric topology
  • Proactive best-practices validation of SAN configurations, including on-demand or scheduled operation, customization and “red flag” reporting, using the Policy Monitor tool
  • Configuration, monitoring and optimization of Fibre Channel over IP (FCIP) tunnels across wide area network (WAN) links, including support for management of multiple FCIP circuits, configuration of FCIP failover circuits, automated setting of compression parameters, and configurable assignment of FCIP tunnel bandwidth to QoS classes, as well as support for multi-gigabit FCIP circuits
  • An intuitive interface to help manage virtualized network environments
  • The ability to edit zone information and preview its impact without affecting production fabrics
  • FICON and cascaded FICON environment configuration and management, along with powerful analysis and diagnostic facilities


Investment protection

IBM Network Advisor provides a nondisruptive path and functional continuity for organizations upgrading from IBM System Storage® Data Center Fabric Manager or earlier versions of IBM Network Advisor. The latest version is available with flexible package and licensing options for a wide range of network deployments and for future network expansion. IBM also offers a path for customers using the IBM Network Advisor Professional Plus feature to upgrade, for a fee, to the IBM Network Advisor Enterprise option.


Specifications

Table 1 lists the IBM Network Advisor specifications.

Table 1. IBM Network Advisor specifications
ItemDescription
Product number5639-NAT
Supported client/server operating systems (64-bit)
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard, Enterprise, Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2012 Standard, Datacenter
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 8 Enterprise
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1 Advanced
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.2 Advanced
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3 Advanced
  • Oracle Enterprise Linux 6.1
  • Oracle Enterprise Linux 6.2
  • Oracle Enterprise Linux 6.3

All the above operating systems are supported as Guest VMs on VMware ESXi 5.1, KVM (Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3 Adv) and Microsoft Hyper-V (Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows Server 2012).
Hardware requirementsThe system requirements and recommended configuration options vary depending on the size of the SAN fabrics being managed with IBM Network Advisor 12.1. Consult the user manuals or contact IBM Support for details.
Required Fabric OS featuresSome IBM Network Advisor Enterprise features require specific Fabric OS licensed features to be enabled.
Supported platforms (one is required)
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 (x86 64-bit) Standard, Datacenter, and Enterprise Edition
  • Windows Server 2012 Standard, Datacenter
  • Windows 7 Enterprise (x86 64-bit)
  • Windows 8 Enterprise
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1 Adv (x86 64-bit)
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.2 Adv (x86 64-bit)
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3 Adv (x86 64-bit)
  • Oracle Enterprise Linux 6.1
  • Oracle Enterprise Linux 6.2
  • Oracle Enterprise Linux 6.3

The Enterprise option is required to manage the 2499-384 and 2499-816 fabric backbones and systems running FICON. A path is also being offered to customers using the Pro Plus feature to upgrade for a fee to the Enterprise option.
Options
  • IBM Network Advisor v12.1 Professional Plus feature, licensed to manage up to 36 fabrics and 2,560 ports
  • IBM Network Advisor v12.1 Enterprise option, licensed to manage up to 36 fabrics and 9,000 ports


Related information

For more information, see the following documents:

Special Notices

This material has not been submitted to any formal IBM test and is published AS IS. It has not been the subject of rigorous review. IBM assumes no responsibility for its accuracy or completeness. The use of this information or the implementation of any of these techniques is a client responsibility and depends upon the client's ability to evaluate and integrate them into the client's operational environment. publib-b.boulder.ibm.com

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Publish Date
03 December 2013


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