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File Virtualization, Data Migration Seeks Spotlight

AutoVirt joins other storage vendors in the effort to improve the management of files for the mid-market

Startup AutoVirt is the latest vendor to offer a Windows file virtualization system for the mid-market that's designed to improve the management of unstructured data and make it easier to automate the migration of the data to less-expensive storage or for load-balancing purposes.

AutoVirt is officially launching as a company next week at the SNW show in Dallas and formally introducing its software package. It also plans to announce that it has completed raising $4.5 million in A-round financing from investors like Sigma Partners and Kepha Partners.

Founder and chief technology officer Klavs Landberg told Byte and Switch the software will help mid-sized companies improve Windows server and storage utilization by adding an extension to the Windows ecosystem that abstracts file locations. "The killer app is automated and transparent migration of data," Landberg said. "You can set policies to move stuff from one file server to another file server, or from one storage system to another, and the client doesn't need to know."

Prices range from $10,000 to $100,000, based on the number of shares or virtualization objects. Landberg estimates the average street price will be in the $25,000 to $50,000 range. He said a company with about 500 NAS users will pay around $10,000 while $100,000 will buy a license for an unlimited configuration. "Our sweet spot is companies with a single data center and single IT department," he said. He estimated there are more than 500,000 companies that fit that profile.

The market for these types of products is becoming more competitive. F5 Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FFIV) and ONStor Inc. recently introduced file virtualization products, and similar products are available from companies like EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) and Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) at the high end and SecureCopy and MigratePro at the low end. The reason for all of the activity is the explosive growth in unstructured file data, especially Windows files in the mid-market.

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