Acopia Reaches Out

Expands global namespace across its switches, so it can manage NAS files across remote sites

July 19, 2005

2 Min Read
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Acopia Networks Inc. is enhancing its file virtualization software to bring it out of the data center and across the enterprise.

Acopia this week will announce new global namespace and load balancing features for its ARX switches that make them more efficient across multiple sites. Acopia is also adding failover capabilities across data centers.

Global namespace is a critical feature for NAS virtualization vendors like Acopia, NeoPath Networks, NuView Inc., and Rainfinity, because it lets users manage files stored across different NAS systems as one big pool (see File Systems Boost NAS).

But that pool is increasingly spread across multiple sites instead of being located only in the data center. Thats why it’s important to support namespace across sites, as NuView and Rainfinity already do (see NuView Unveils StorageX 5.6).

Acopia's global namespace could be a vital link to its future. Acopia critics and competitors claim its ARX switches have been difficult to scale. When Acopia last month added a thin client version of its ARX switch for remote offices, it was clear that the scaleability problem would need to be solved (see Acopia Goes Thin).“This extends their reach to the enterprise and wide area networks,” analyst Brad O’Neill of the Taneja Group. “In verticals like oil and gas, you can’t sell to those guys unless you have end-to-end throughput.”

Another analyst, who requested anonymity, says Acopia’s new load balancing might help just as much as its enhanced namespace support. Instead of load balancing based on capacity alone, Acopia’s switches will switch from a poor performing server to a better performing one, says the analyst. That could distinguish Acopia from some competitors.

Acopia is a late-comer in the NAS virtualization market compared to NuView and Rainfinity. Acopia started shipping 13 months ago, and claims less than 30 customers. NuView and Rainfinity started shipping their products in 2002 (see A NuView for NetApp and EMC? and Rainfinity Fakes Out Filers). NuView has more than 200 customers and Rainfinity claims more than 50.

O’Neill says there’s plenty of room for all three plus NeoPath, which started shipping its product last December (see NeoPath Opens Up). He says they fix a problem that has existed for years –-making NAS manageable as filers are added.

“There are four emerging companies, and they’re all starting to pick up customers because NAS had so little mature management capabilities for years,” he says.— Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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