While other vendors that accelerate remote file access, such as Cisco Systems Inc. and Tacit Networks Inc., require an appliance at both the data center and each remote site accessing centralized files, FineGrounds new Velocity-FS speeds file access using a single data center appliance.
The Campbell, Calif., companys offering, which accelerates delivery of files based on Microsoft Corp.s distributed file system, works at the protocol level to reduce the amount of redundant or unnecessary traffic associated with the Microsoft CIFS system.
"CIFS is a chatty protocol," said Jay Mellman, vice president of marketing at FineGround. "We change the [communications] protocol so that instead of the client making a CIFS request, it makes the request via HTTP. It comes to us, we transform it back to CIFS, do the chatty stuff there [at the data center], and when its all there we send it back to the client."
As enterprises seek to consolidate IT infrastructure within the data center, latency across slower-speed wide area links has been a stumbling block to moving file servers and storage away from remote users, Mellman said.
"The customers we work with that have tens to hundreds of sites, and thousands of users would like to continue to operate from a central data center. We heard it costs about $1,000 per user per year to manage remote servers, and they get inconsistent backup and archiving when servers are located remotely," he said.
"Its an issue of how you manage it as well as how much it costs. Enterprises cant have sys admins everywhere anymore," added Joe Skorupa, industry analyst with Gartner Inc., in San Jose, Calif. "One of the real pushes for centralization of servers is from a regulatory standpoint. You cant be as diligent in tracking those assets if they are in hundreds of offices around the world. In the data center you know where it is and that its well-protected."
The Velocity-FS appliance is installed in front of data center storage and file systems. It works with any CIFS-based storage system. While it optimizes file service response time across WANs, it maintains existing rights management, access control, locking, security and data integrity mechanism. It also supports Microsofts Active Directory, and supported desktops include Windows XP or later as well as Mac OS X.
It is due in June; pricing starts at $20,000.