A relatively unknown software maker, NuView Inc., is preparing the first global naming directory for Network Appliance Inc. storage devices. The directory, due to ship Tuesday, should be warmly received by people fed up with the complexity posed by many network-attached storage devices.
The storage appliances running on IP networks are supposed to simplify the infrastructure, but any company with a few hundred employees is bound to have multiple appliances. And that's when employees need to know on which appliance a given file resides.
StorageX 3 management software presents a point-and-click directory of all stored files based on business terms. People don't have to know where a document is in order to find it. StorageX also is designed to help administrators manage devices from Dell Computer, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Network Appliance as one network and to replicate files between the different environments.
Should an outage occur, the update can automatically move files across a wide area network. And administrators working with StorageX will be able to create policies for events such as data migration, disaster recovery, or name-space management. That should make it unnecessary for them to be on hand to kick-start those processes.
Shelly Wall, IT operations manager at the Mental Health And Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County in Houston, brought in an HP MSA 1000 appliance about a year ago to replace a Windows NT server that was crashing weekly. Her staff services 1,500 people, including doctors, and they have five out of 37 Windows servers attached to the MSA appliance so far. "Before we bought StorageX, we had 10 servers and constantly got calls from users asking where their files were," she says. "And it was hard to migrate anything." Her team is testing version 3, and she expects to install it in a month.
Enterprise Storage Group founder Steve Duplessie says that most network-attached storage customers love their first appliance but hate their 50th. Customers with hundreds of them have a real mess on their hands when another one is added because they have to disrupt users so they can reformat all the devices. Says Duplessie, "StorageX is the first real solid implementation to mask all those NAS migration issues from users."