NuView Fills Out

Takes NAS management software to Unix and Windows NAS, now covering the major bases

February 4, 2003

3 Min Read
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Three-year-old startup NuView Inc. has finally added support for Unix hosts and the ability to manage Windows-based NAS servers to its StorageX management software -- a move CEO Rahul Mehta claims will at least double its addressable market (see NuView Debuts StorageX 3.0).

StorageX acts as a kind of metadirectory for NAS namespaces, providing an abstraction layer that allows an administrator to modify or move NAS servers without needing to change how users gain access to them. The software, which runs on a Windows 2000 server, also provides a consolidated view of multiple NAS devices.

"This is the way everyone will manage NAS in the future," predicts Mehta. [Ed. note: Well, he can wish.]

With version 3.0, StorageX extends into the Unix world with support for the Network File System (NFS) protocol, and it can now directly manage NAS servers based on the Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Windows Server Appliance Kit (SAK), which has captured a significant portion of the market. The previous version of StorageX spoke only the Common Internet File System (CIFS) protocol used by Windows servers, and it was able to manage only Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP) filers.

The big deal with StorageX 3.0 is that it provides a global namespace across both Unix and Windows, says Randy Kerns, senior analyst with Evaluator Group. "Now I can establish a global namespace across a much larger, heterogeneous environment than I could before," he says.NuView says the software also provides data replication as well as automatic failover between NetApp or Windows-based NAS devices, even if they're in different locations.

However, one major NAS platform NuView doesn't yet support is EMC Corp.'s (NYSE: EMC) Celerra, which is typically found in high-end, EMC-oriented environments. This is supposedly in the works: According to EMC's Website, NuView is integrating StorageX with Symmetrix and Celerra. But there's no word on when this feature will be available.

NuView's closest competitor, says Kerns, is Veritas Software Corp. (Nasdaq: VRTS), which provides its VxFS file system and Volume Manager for multiple server platforms. However, he notes, Veritas's solution requires installing the software on every host.

Mehta says NuView doesn't act as a file system replacement, which is the case with global file systems like IBM Corp.'s (NYSE: IBM) Storage Tank or next-generation NAS systems like those from Spinnaker Networks Inc. or Zambeel Inc. Rather, StorageX provides a unified namespace in front of existing NAS resources.

"It has taken NetApp 10 years to create and perfect its file system," he says. "These are very, very complex technologies." On the other hand, developers of those other next-generation NAS architectures argue that they're able to provide much greater scaleability by controlling the file system as well as the namespace.Houston-based NuView, which has 35 employees, was founded in January 2000 and has been privately funded. This is Mehta's fourth startup, having sold his previous ventures to Computer Associates International (NYSE: CA), Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HWP), and Veritas Software Corp. (Nasdaq: VRTS) (see A NuView for NetApp and EMC?).

So far, NuView has lined up about 25 direct customers, including Lockheed Martin Corp. and T. Rowe Price. But the company was unable to refer us to one that's currently using version 3.0 of its software.

NetApp resells StorageX as Virtual File Manager (VFM). Mehta says he doesn't know how many customers NetApp has lined up for VFM -- "They just write me a check," he says -- but it seems clear that NetApp will find the software a more compelling sell now that it supports NFS (see NetApp OEMs NuView

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