Aiming to split data wheat and chaff

While storing data is becoming an ever-larger expense for IT departments, two companies are promoting the idea of taking older, less-critical data off high-end servers and placing it on more affordable machines. The end result, according to StoreAge Networking Technologies Inc. and KOM Networks Inc., should be improved efficiency in managing all data.

The two storage software vendors recently revealed a software technology partnership to act as the mechanism between high end and low-end storage area network devices. Irvine, Calif.-based StoreAge and KOM Networks Inc., out of Kanata, Ont., have announced interoperability between the StoreAge Virtualization Manager (SVM) and the KOM KOMWORX offerings.

According to StoreAge, the enterprise is at a realization stage that data growth will continue for the foreseeable future. In order to manage that data, customers are purchasing bigger and more expensive storage devices. Russ Ritchie, director of marketing for StoreAge, explained that there has been a glaring hole in the industry because these devices do not have the capability to differentiate between mission-critical and everyday data.

He explained that one rule of thumb in the world of storage is that the older data becomes, the less frequently it is accessed. Ritchie said it doesn’t make a lot of sense to keep this older data on the most expensive devices.

“It would be to a lot of people’s benefit to start migrating older data to less-expensive storage devices within the same SAN so that everything is seamlessly attached to each other, and it frees up space on your expensive pieces,” he explained.

And since the incumbent storage devices were never designed to communicate betwixt one another, it becomes difficult for network managers to migrate data from one platform to another, said Richard Vining, director of marketing for KOM. He explained that KOM’s KOMWORX software applies policies to data that the network manager can configure to migrate that older or less-accessed data onto less-expensive machines.

“Different data has different value,” Vining said. “Rather than storing all data on one repository, our software applies policies to the data.”

StoreAge’s product, the Virtualization Manager, presents a common layer across all the storage within a SAN fabric and can therefore manage that storage regardless of device brand. The SVM also enables on-the-fly capacity provisioning online and real-time.

“In the KOM software you can set up policies,” Vining said. “Our software will help [customers] take care of the data movement and make sure everything is done as defined by the user policy.”

Integrating the two software pieces is a natural fit, said Tony Prigmore, a senior analyst with Milford, Mass.-based Enterprise Storage Group. Prigmore said that although incumbent storage manufacturers, including EMC Corp., IBM Corp. and Hitachi, have begun to realize the limited level of communication between their respective boxes and are on the road to offering the mechanism to enable better communication, the beauty of what StoreAge and KOM are doing is that customers no longer have to rely on any of the incumbents.

“This is value-add storage management software that adds functionality, specifically simplifies management and lowers the overall total cost of operation,” Prigmore said. “Together these two companies have the ability to address more of that value proposition to customers than they can by themselves.”

And although he is not familiar with StoreAge and KOM, Alan Koifman, technical research manager with DataPeer Inc., a managed data storage and backup solutions company in Fort Lee, N.J., said that the software mechanism between SAN devices is crucial.

“This software allows you to manage storage from one central location. You can virtualize data into virtual pools of storage and can manage it from different hardware and then send it to any device on the network. It is an important piece of a SAN environment,” he said, but added that the technology is far from new. Storage companies including FalconStor Inc. and Veritas Inc. both offer products that perform similar to the KOM and StoreAge offerings.

Both KOM and StoreAge said that while the arrangement is presently a technology interoperability deal, there are plans to discuss a potential business partnership in the near future.

For details, visit the companies online at and