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Clusters & CDP: Well Matched

5:55 PM -- It's great to hear that clustered NAS vendor Exanet has added CDP to its wares. (See Exanet Intros Software.) Following Isilon's announcement that snapshots have been added to its clustered NAS option, the news reveals a trend that can only be welcomed by IT. (See Isilon Snaps Its Clusters.)

"We think this news from Exanet is great. It's a response to a request we made long ago," says Jason Nocco, IT director at Data Storage Corp., which offers backup and recovery facilities in the New York City area. Though he's an Exanet customer, Nocco isn't using the Exanet ExaStore - ICM product yet, though it's clear he'd like to do so.

Exanet is the latest clustered NAS vendor to add backup improvements in an effort toward heftier market share. Last month, Isilon's addition of snapshots to its wares signalled that firm's recognition of the need for better solutions. Other vendors, including OnStor, claim to have special replication facilities that mimic CDP.

At least one analyst thinks all vendors in the clustered NAS arena could do worse than follow suit. "Some kind of snapshot capability, either continuous or point in time, is critical for high-scale enterprise NAS.... [w]hile the players who have developed traditional snapshot-based approaches will be fine for the time being, I believe vendors who develop continuous data technologies will enjoy some distinct architectual advantages that will become evident in coming years as this market evolves," writes analyst Brad O'Neill of the Taneja Group in an email this afternoon.

So, where are the big players? As usual, hiding behind the nearest bush. EMC, which offers a SAN alternative to clustered NAS through its partnership with Ibrix, is reportedly beta testing snapshots, but neither EMC nor Ibrix would provide more information at press time. NetApp also did not respond.

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