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Crossroads Heads Down New Road

Crossroads Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CRDS) has taken another step down the path of reinventing itself, launching a backup-acceleration appliance that foreshadows more to come (see Crossroads Adds Backup Appliance).

Crossroads is known for its multiprotocol bridges, but the struggling vendor has staked its future on developments in iSCSI and intelligent software (see Crossroads at the Crossroads). Its latest product, called DataMover 240f, is the first in the company's Network Storage Controller family, which will eventually include appliances handling additional protocols such as iSCSI and SCSI.

The new product addresses a potentially serious issue with storage administration -- backup bottlenecks. It sits in an FC SAN and supports the SCSI protocol's Extended Copy (XCopy) command to perform backup-and-restore functions on behalf of host servers.

Typically, the host retrieves data and sends it to the appropriate target device itself. With XCopy, the host instead relays these commands to an intelligent device such as DataMover, which carries out the commands more quickly and frees the host for other functions.

"The backup server might have multiple HBAs, but it has fairly limited bandwidth," says Tres Hill, product manager at Crossroads. "We've seen backup implementations where servers are getting only 10 megabytes per second."

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