NeoPath Streamlines NAS System Use

NeoPath Networks' FD-200 frees up scarce NAS resources.

NeoPath Networks Inc.s FD-200 File Director lets IT managers fine-tune NAS system and file server management while finding more efficient ways to use storage.

Using file server virtualization, NeoPaths FD-200 creates virtual file servers that decouple links between file pointers and physical storage devices. With virtualization in place, IT managers can easily consolidate network-attached storage units and reallocate resources without interrupting users access to data.

The FD-200, which shipped in December, is priced at $29,995 for a single unit and $49,995 for a high-availability clustered pair.

Given the pricing and the capabilities of the FD-200, we believe it is best suited to large and midsize companies carrying a diverse line of NAS and file servers on their networks. However, the downtime it will help IT managers avoid—and the lost weekends that typically occur when IT managers have to perform migrations—will quickly generate a solid return on investment.

In eWEEK Labs tests, we found that the FD-200 was easy to implement. It sits between client systems and NAS and file servers on the IP network.

/zimages/6/28571.gifTo read more about new products that are teaching NAS gateways and network file servers new tricks to maximize storage capacity, click here.

The FD-200s combination of namespace consolidation and seamless data migration capabilities put it in rare company. eWEEK Labs has only recently begun to see useful namespace consolidation functions—and only in offerings from companies such as NuView Inc. In tests the device showed it can migrate data without disturbing file access—a powerful feature that weve previously seen only in Rainfinity Inc.s RainStorage appliance.

The FD-200s virtual-share capability let us create shares that spanned several NAS units. This capability allows IT managers to harness unused storage space from idle NAS and file servers. What sets this unit apart from the RainStorage appliance is that administrators neednt remap user shares on the client side; the FD-200s file share virtualization takes care of the redirection.

This is a major improvement because it allows IT managers to maintain previous file share access policies, and IT managers dont have to force clients to again log on to access the new shares.

When high storage-use spikes occur, the FD-200 lets IT managers painlessly add storage (from existing NAS units or from newly implemented ones) to user shares on the fly, without disrupting their work.

Using the migration capability and the included file policy management tools, an IT manager could configure the FD-200 to automatically move files not recently used off high-performance Fibre Channel NAS units and onto less-expensive ATA-based storage. This capability will make the FD-200 appealing to IT managers trying to implement ILM (information lifecycle management) because it will allow IT managers to set up multiple data tiers.

The automated migration can also be used to optimize performance for power users.

Moving heavily accessed files to more powerful servers and NAS units will also allow IT departments to balance performance and capacity throughout a network. Further, file share management consolidation allows IT managers to keep track of resources throughout the network from a single point.

Another side benefit of employing policy-driven file migration is that the tiered infrastructure can be used to optimize backups. By placing all heavily accessed files in a single share, an administrator can prioritize the backup infrastructure to protect that share first, then back up a companys less-valuable data later.

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