File Virtualization Eases Management Woes

Arthur Cole

Enterprises that are already pushing virtualization past the server farm and into the storage network are quickly realizing the broad impact the technology has on the file data level. The latest sweep of file virtualization systems brings new levels of intelligence designed to simplify everything from data management to backup and recovery.


This week saw the introduction of the next phase of F5 Networks' Application Delivery Networking platform with the introduction of Ver. 3.0 of the Acopia FreedomFabric operating software. The company bills it as an intelligent file virtualization network that, among other benefits, provides virtual snapshots across heterogeneous storage platforms. The related Network Manager stack enables storage policies to be distributed across multiple systems as well.


Attune Systems has gone with a tiered, policy-based approach for its Maestro file virtualization appliance with the new File Manager 2.5 software. The package includes the ability to search either the live file system or any number of previous copies based on owner, size, type or numerous other criteria. It also provides non-disruptive migration between storage tiers.


The prospect of improved migration and file server consolidation is also drawing new blood into the market. A start-up called AutoVirt is drawing venture capital for a file virtualization system aimed at improving the flow of data between servers and storage devices. The company is tight-lipped about its technology or when it expects to launch, except to say that it has upwards of 18 patents pending on the system.


Top storage vendors are also shoring up their file virtualization capabilities, although not necessarily through in-house development. Hitachi Data Systems, for example, is reselling the Brocade StorageX suite for file management and virtualization across its storage platforms.


File virtualization is extremely useful in keeping tabs on unstructured data, primarily by allowing access to that data regardless of where it is stored. Institutional knowledge is often the lifeblood of an organization, so any improvement in getting the right data to the right people is a welcome one.

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