By Ann Silverthorn
Network Executive Software (NetEx) makes no secret about it: The data transport company, spun off from StorageTek in 1999, wants to make Fibre Channel over IP WAN technologies obsolete. Its line of attack is the recent release of HyperIP DRO (Data Replication Optimizer), an appliance that accelerates replication over standard TCP/IP-Ethernet networks, including iSCSI-based replication products.
“There are a lot of vendors in the WAN optimization space and a lot in the wide area file services space. We see that as the low-end market,” says Bob MacIntyre, VP of business development and marketing at NetEx. “We’re coming into this from a performance standpoint.” The company claims a minimum replication performance boost of 3x and a maximum performance improvement of 10x, and a reduction in bandwidth requirements of 60% to 90% and 2x to 15x data compression ratios.
Potential competitors include vendors of WAN optimization products, such as Peribit and Riverbed, as well as vendors of WAFS appliances and software, such as Cisco, FineGround (which is being acquired by Cisco), and Tacit Networks.
In a survey of 170 InfoStor readers, 71% of the respondents said Ethernet-TCP/IP is their preferred BC/DR transport versus Fibre Channel over IP. MacIntyre says with Ethernet there’s less hardware to purchase and maintain, only one network to manage, simpler communications, and better performance compared to approaches that tunnel Fibre Channel over IP.
“Fibre Channel is no longer a requirement,” says MacIntyre. “A lot of the storage vendors are using native Ethernet connections in their arrays, such as EMC with Symmetrix and DMX. Customers don’t have to have Fibre Channel coming out over their wide area connections anymore. There are better ways to drive replication traffic over the network.”
HyperIP DRO is an appliance that attaches to any Ethernet switch and requires no changes to applications or code upgrades to network devices. It appears as an IP gateway to servers and storage controllers. Management features include time-of-day rate limiting to optimize bandwidth; performance graphs for detailed traffic analysis; a transport-tuning facility that optimizes storage traffic for networks with high packet loss; and utilities, diagnostic aids, network status display and traffic flow, configuration, and operational status.
HyperIP DRO has an MSRP of about $20,000. The appliance and software have been qualified with replication products from vendors such as DataCore, EMC, IBM/Tivoli, Maranti, Microsoft, NetApp, NSI, Oracle, Softek, and Veritas, and with standard FTP, says MacIntyre. NetEx partners include EMC, IBM/Tivoli, Net-App, NSI, Softek, and Veritas.