Acopia Hitched to HP's Grid

Startup Acopia partners with HP for network file services and sets its sights on more

May 14, 2005

3 Min Read
Network Computing logo

Acopia Networks Inc. has been picked by Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) to add its virtual filing system to HP's StorageWorks Reference Information Storage System (RISS). (See Acopia Works With HP RISS.) The move widens the scope of specialized file systems -- and broadens Acopia's outlook.

At this stage, Acopia is describing the deal as a "technology partnership," and the startup would not be drawn on product roadmap specifics, such as whether the vendors will be reselling or reference selling each other's kit. "We're working with their folks towards an integrated technology solution, and that's all that we can say for now," says Joe Wisniewski, Acopia's product marketing manager.

However, Acopia has confirmed that it will link its Adaptive Resource Switch (ARX), a product that extends a virtual file system across multiple data storage platforms, with HP's RISS, which archives and manages stored data. RISS is based on technology acquired through HP's acquisition of Persist Technologies back in 2003 (see HP Buys Archive Guys). HP's product competes against the Centera content-addressed storage system from EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC).

Acopia's switches will provide a global namespace for RISS, allowing users to manage files stored on RISS systems as one big pool. Further, and perhaps more importantly, users will also be able to have a common file system among RISS and standard Unix or Windows file servers and/or network attached storage (NAS) boxes, according to Lowell, Mass.-based Acopia.

The deal represents a move into a new area for Acopia, which up to now has mainly provided virtual file systems for use with NAS. "This is taking us into the data archiving space," says Wisniewski. "It legitimizes what we are doing -- for the last year people have been asking for this capability."Wisniewski hints that similar deals could be in the pipeline. Acopia may build on its partnership with EMC, which now covers just that vendor's NAS gear (see Acopia Becomes EMC Partner). "Stay tuned," he says. "We're also working very closely with the EMC Centera group and you will see announcements coming very shortly."

EMC was giving little away when contacted by NDCF. "We look forward to Acopia completing a successful integration to the Centera API," says spokesman Rob Callery. However, he was unable to give an indication of when this will be completed.

For HP, partnering with Acopia adds a bit of flesh to the bones of its "storage grid" strategy, of which the RISS appliance was the first offering (see HP Delivers Storage Grid Solution). But it could be some time before HP comes through with the ability to create "storage on demand" via distributed networking. It’s not like turning a light on [yet],” says Tony Asaro, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. Still, he adds, the Acopia deal advances HP’s ongoing attempt to glue different pieces of commodity hardware together.

Acopia is one of a number of file system specialists, including NeoPath Networks, NuView Inc., and Rainfinity, which are earning a reputation for their ability to streamline access to NAS servers to reduce the amount of servers in the network while improving performance and management (see File Systems Boost NAS).

At least one analyst says what he terms "network file management" as typified by Acopia's gear is validated by this deal. "I think it's good for both companies," says Brad O'Neill, senior analyst at the Taneja Group. "This whole space has really come into maturity in the last six months.""By combining the two technologies you get a lot of benefits," says Gary Lyng, director of product marketing for HP's ILM initiative. "From an enterprise perspective it enables a corporation to really gain control of their unstructured content."

— James Rogers, Site Editor, Next-Gen Data Center Forum

Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox

You May Also Like

More Insights