Storage start-ups are back

* Plus, a look at some interesting companies from SWC: Neopath Networks, Exagrid and FilesX

I came across a few interesting companies at the Storage World Conference two weeks ago in Boston. Here’s the skinny.

* Neopath Networks makes File Director network file management servers. Note that these are not filers as we are used to seeing them - no data is stored on them. Rather, the Neopath device is a virtualization appliance that sits in-band between the storage and the processes that use the storage, providing a virtualized global namespace between itself and the physical storage that enables nondisruptive file migration and other file management activities.

The File Directors work with most popular filers and NFS and CIFS file servers, including NAS devices Network Appliance, EMC, Sun, Linux and those using Windows Server.

* Exagrid offers a disk-based backup product that promises data compression and data reduction of at least 20-to-1. The company claims to provide disk-to-disk backups at 30% the price of systems unable to provide equivalent data reduction. Data reduction is achieved by only capturing changes in the data after the initial backup. This is accomplished at a very granular level: the changes (the deltas) are captured at the byte level, so only the changed bytes are written to disk in subsequent backups.

FilesX provides continuous data protection (CDP). It offers bare metal restore capability, but also is one of only a few firms that have a focus on CDP for remote offices. CDP is proving to be of tremendous value for mission-critical apps, and as a result, this application space is fast-filling with vendors.

Finally, it’s nice to know that storage start-ups are back, if not with a vengeance then at least with some real products.

My old friend John, a serial entrepreneur or sorts, is rolling out Siafu, named after what he assures me is a particularly vicious form of army ant (John does this sort of thing a lot. His previous start-up was Okapi, named after what is surely one of the world’s least-attractive mammals). Siafu makes iSCSI appliances in SMB and enterprise flavors, and lays claim to having an aggressive pricing structure.

The Siafu Swarm 1000, aimed at SMB shops, holds up to four SATA drives in a 1U rack mount that comes with RAID 5 and two hot-swappable power supplies in each device. A high availability configuration adds a second Swarm 1000, mirroring between the two devices, and active-active failover.

The 3U enterprise level Swarm 3000 has three power supplies per box, holds 15TB (30 drives) of disk in the 6U high availability configuration, and comes wit RAID 6, mirrored in the active-active high availability configuration. It takes guts to name a computer system after bugs. Or confidence. Click here to check it out.

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