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Users Wary of FSV

The market for file storage virtualization (FSV) is heating up, with Brocade stumping $60 million for startup NuView yesterday and a slew of vendors jostling for position. (See Brocade Acquires NuView.) But despite the promised benefits, many users have misgivings about the emerging technology.

FSV is being touted as an effective way for users to share file-level data around their storage infrastructures. A number of vendors, including Acopia Networks Inc., EMC, Cloverleaf Communications Inc., Network Appliance, and NeoPath Networks, are currently looking to buttress their position in this space. (See EMC to Buy Rainfinity, NetApp, Acopia Partner, NeoPath Intros File Director, and NuView Gets Personal.)

All this activity is to the good, says Christopher Bell, a member of the California Central Valley Storage Networking User Group and sales manager at Santa Clara, Calif.-based data center consultancy Helio Solutions. He claims users are crying out for FSV technologies. "I am seeing a lot of people concerned with the explosion of data. This is fulfilling a customer need."

In particular, says Bell, users need FSV to overcome dwindling data center headcounts, enabling a limited number of IT professionals to better control their existing storage hardware.

But Brocade user Rick Golish, vice president of finance at Minnesota Elevator, a Mankato, Minn.-based manufacturing firm, has not been won over by the FSV offerings currently on the market. "There's a whole lot of programming underneath it that has a whole lot of bugs in it," he explains. "We want someone else to be on the bleeding edge."

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