NeoPath Unveils Network File Device

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While several vendors are finding success in helping clients corral unstructured data such as e-mail and medical records, NeoPath Networks hopes to cut a swath through the competition with its virtualized approach to file management.

The Santa Clara, Calif., start-up, whose backers include Java creator Bill Joy of Sun Microsystems fame, is offering a software-loaded appliance called NeoPath File Director.

File Director provides networked storage consolidation and access to various levels of tiered storage to reduce operating costs, while making storage management easier. The appliance employs a virtualized approach to storing data on file servers and NAS devices, according to Bob Nusbaum, NewPath director of product management.

For example, the physical location, name and path of a file are normally bound together. Nusbaum told File Director decouples the physical location of a file from its name and path, using a unified namespace for NFS and CIFS files.

This allows administrators to attach, remove or upgrade servers and storage without impacting users with zero downtime, thereby improving the performance and capacity of storage. File Director also makes it possible for administrators to migrate files based on importance and relevance through policy rules.

The machine will work with any file server, network-attached storage (NAS) device or operating system on a network, an attractive value proposition at a time when gear in data centers is a mixed bag from different vendors. Specifically, Nusbaum said clients with three to five dedicated NAS products or 10 to 20 file servers would make ideal customers.

While other management vendors like Princeton Softech corral structured data at the application, storage area network (SAN) or block levels, NeoPath is intent on lowering the cost of file management through its automated, virtualized approach. NeoPath sees itself as competing with networked storage management providers Rainfinity and Acopia.

Ultimately, File Director is a good fit for clients looking to support their information lifecycle management (ILM) initiatives, particularly for customers conducting migrations based on access frequency, date, size and location.

For example, files from a dated project may be taking up too much space across a number of file servers. Administrators can set up a policy to migrate files not updated in the last year from more expensive, Fibre Channel storage to less expensive Serial ATA storage.

File Director is optimized to run with commodity hardware from Dell, IBM and HP and has a Linux kernel on top of which sit several software engines from NeoPath. The company also provides an API for third-party software services. Selling now, File Director starts at $29,995 for a single node unit and $49,995 for a two-node cluster, which is recommended.

Article courtesy of

Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor and a senior writer for covering IT leadership, the CIO role, and digital transformation.

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