Storage vendors rolling out data-protection wares

A half-dozen storage vendors this week announced enhancements to products that help IT professionals better archive, back up and manage data on Fibre Channel and IP storage-area networks.

Included among the announcements are:

— Exagrid Systems Inc.’s expected debut of a network-attached storage (NAS) system and management software that automatically backs up data and provides disaster-recovery capability.

— EMC Corp.’s anticipated introduction of a version of its ApplicationXtender software that adds the ability to retain and retrieve records for regulatory compliance.

— Network Appliance Inc.’s plan to unveil enhancements to its Data OnTap operating system that make it easier to provision and replicate data, and increase the number of storage arrays to which its gFiler NAS gateway can connect.

— Panasas Inc.’s expected rollout of new hardware bundles and enhancements to its file system that let it handle larger workloads much faster.

— EqualLogic Inc. plans to announce iSCSI-based hardware appliances and software to protect data stored on them.

— CommVault Systems Inc.’s anticipated shipment of a new version of its storage resource management product that makes it easier to recover saved data.

IDC says IT organizations spent US$4.3 billion on back-up, archiving and replication software last year, and that the market will grow to US$6.58 billion by 2008, which would represent 54 per cent of storage software expenditures.

Exagrid, a start-up funded by Highland Capital Partners Inc. and Sigma Partners, plans to introduce a system called Advanstor, which consists of a NAS appliance called InfiniteFiler that connects to the Gigabit Ethernet network and to Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA) storage appliances called GridDisks.

When IT configures the system and assigns storage capacity to servers, the system automatically sets up a data-protection policy so that data can be backed up or replicated locally or remotely for disaster recovery. The software also can be used to migrate data from expensive primary storage to less-expensive ATA-based GridDisks for archiving. Prices start at US$62,000 for a two-node InfiniteFiler and a 1TB GridDisk system with software.

EMC plans to announce Documentum ApplicationXtender 5.2 software, a fixed content management suite for midsize businesses. ApplicationXtender 5.2 integrates Documentum’s Department of Defense 5015.2 records management package, Documentum AX 5.2, and the ability to retain files and images for regulatory compliance. The software costs US$20,000 for 25 concurrent users.

Network Appliance is expected to introduce a new version of its operating system for its file servers. Data OnTap 7G includes FlexVol capability, which improves utilization by gathering physical capacity into a single pool of storage, from which volumes can be automatically shrunk or expanded to accommodate demand. Data OnTap 7G also includes the ability to copy data for testing, development or simulation. The product ships with Network Appliance file servers at no extra charge.

“Increasingly, people are seeing that the ability to replicate a volume has applications far beyond protection,” says Mike Karp, senior analyst for Enterprise Management Associates. “You can clone a volume and hand it off as a test bed to people doing development or patching a Windows-based system.”

Further, the company’s gFiler NAS gateway now can attach to HP StorageWorks XP disk arrays and IBM Corp.’s TotalStorage DS4000 series.

Panasas is scheduled to announce two NAS bundles — a 5TB-capacity bundle called Parallel NAS and a 4.5TB Scalable NAS. The Parallel NAS bundle consists of DirectorBlade, which serves as a gateway between Unix/Linux Network File System (NFS) and Microsoft Corp.’s Common Internet File System (CIFS) clients and the company’s StorageBlades. The Scalable NAS consists of two DirectorBlades and supports CIFS and NFS.

Panasas also enhanced its file system. ActiveScale File System 2.0 includes enhanced load balancing for business continuity, record-locking and parallel data access for data backup and restoration.

EqualLogic plans to introduce PeerStorage iSCSI appliances designed for businesses that are moving from direct-attached storage to networked storage. The appliances scale from 1.75TB to nearly 45TB of Serial ATA storage, and include point-in-time copy, volume cloning and remote replication capability for fault tolerance and disaster recovery. They are priced starting at US$24,900.

CommVault is expected to roll out policy-setting features for its QiNetix storage resource management software that lets IT tier storage by placing data on appropriate storage medium based on its value. The new version of QiNetix lets IT set policies that automate data migration and recovery. QiNetix is set to be available this month priced starts at US$800.

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