NeoPath boosts NFM performance

By Dave Simpson

—NeoPath Networks will announce tomorrow its second-generation network file management (NFM) appliance, the FD-220 File Director, which the company claims provides a 3X performance boost over its FD-200 predecessor.

Although actual I/O performance depends on a number of factors, the FD-200 was rated at 1Gbps, while the FD-220 provides 3.5Gbps (or 7Gbps aggregate throughput bi-directionally). In some cases, such as with jumbo frames, the FD-220 can provide as much as 10Gbps aggregate throughput, according to Dan Liddle, senior director of marketing and business development at NeoPath.

NeoPath competes primarily with Acopia, NuView and Rainfinity in the NFM market, which is sometimes referred to as NAS, or file, virtualization. Acopia recently announced the 2.0 version of the operating system for its Adaptive Resource Switch (ARX) series of file virtualization switches, which includes enhanced global namespace capabilities, non-disruptive fail-over between data centers, and clustering for real-time load distribution ( see Acopia enhances file virtualization ).

The performance improvements in NeoPath's FD-200 are attributable primarily to software tuning, including the addition of multithreading code. Only about 20% of the performance boost is attributable to hardware enhancements, according to Liddle. NeoPath's appliances combine NFM software with an Intel-based server platform. The 2U FD-220 appliance is based on dual Xeon CPUs.

NeoPath claims to be unique among NFM vendors with its combination of real-time file characterization, policy-based file management, non-disruptive file migration, and namespace virtualization.

In addition, NeoPath will announce tomorrow a reseller partnership with SANZ, a storage consulting and integration firm based in Englewood, CO.

NeoPath's NFM appliances can be used with existing file servers and NAS systems, and are typically used for NAS consolidation and creating tiered storage architectures.

Pricing for the FD-220 appliances ranges from $39,995 for a single node to $69,995 for a two-node, high-availability clustered configuration.

NFM is a term coined by the Taneja Group storage consulting firm. Taneja considers the following functions to be part of the definition of NFM: heterogeneous unified namespace, dynamic access paths, native data formats, individual file controls, and centralized management.

This article was originally published on August 08, 2005