Crossroads Seeks Niche with DataMover

The company introduces an intelligent storage device that it says offers a cost-effective way to move data from one point to another.

In an effort to secure a niche in the ever-changing storage world, embattled bridging and routing vendor Crossroads Systems Inc. has developed an intelligent storage device that offers a cost-effective way to move data from one point to another.

The DataMover 240f appliance provides both dedicated processing power and dedicated bandwidth for backup for organizations already using a host of existing backup products, including Veritas NetBackup for Unix-based operating systems, Veritas BackupExec for Windows, CommVault Galaxy, HP DataProtector and CA-BrightStor ArcServ.

On a hardware level, the DataMover 240f provides Fibre Channel connectivity between Fibre Channel storage devices and a Fibre Channel SAN (Storage Area Network).

On a software level, Data Mover also can provide a number of advanced features to enhance performance and management of data movement processes, said Tres Hill, product manager for the Austin, Texas-based company.

The key data movement functionality is support of the SCSI "Extended Copy" command used in server-free or serverless backup options of many major backup applications, he noted.

The solution is ideal for disk-to-disk-to-tape backup solutions, he said.

"Most backup applications today absorb all of the data into the backup server and then push it to destination devices, whether its more disks or tape. But either way, all of the data is flowing through the backup server," he said.

"If they want to dramatically increase the performance, they can drop in the DataMover, and the master backup application becomes like a director where it directs the system to use its processing power and bandwidth to get data off of a disk volume and put it on tape."

Its the little features that will help DataMover compete with products from major vendors—basically, any product based on NDMP (Network Data Management Protocol), said David Hill, a principal at Mesabi Group LLC of Westwood, Mass.

One of those "little features" is back-hitching—the tendency of LTO tape drives to stop and start during backup processes because the stream of data doesnt process at a consistent rate. "DataMover can buffer it and help eliminate the problem, which can actually be a big problem for organizations trying to manage their data processes," he said.

/zimages/6/28571.gifRead more here about Fibre Channel SANs.

Other features of DataMover 240f include automated management capabilities that improve management of SAN configurations, security access controls, and point-and-click configuration.

Although the company has taken some tactical hits recently, David Hill said Crossroads new product introduction is on the right path.

"They are trying to get into the intelligence at the edge of the fabric. Its a move to improve the backup process by adding intelligence, and thats something everybody is talking about," he said.

DataMover 240f is the first of a planned series of products for its Network Storage Controller family. Other products will include high-performance iSCSI-based products, Tres Hill said, with the overall goal being to secure Crossroads place as an intelligent multiprotocol platform.

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