McData consolidates remote office data

By Kevin Komiega

—McData this week announced a new set of partnerships, products, and services as part of a strategy to give large enterprises a better handle on centrally managing corporate data in remote office locations.

McData's Remote Office Consolidation (ROC) offering enables centralized consolidation of remote servers, storage, and other IT assets back to the corporate data center. Centralized data management and control leads to more efficiencies, better utilization, and cost savings while delivering LAN-like application access over WANs to branch office users.

"Remote offices do not typically have the skill sets or processes of the data center, and there is so much data at the edge that it's putting businesses at risk," says Jon Kelley, McData's president, chairman, and CEO. "The proliferation of remote offices is creating problems in a world where disaster recovery and compliance are required."

Kelley says businesses can realize significant cost savings by centralizing operations such as backup and recovery through better use of computing resources. ROC also consolidates data to the enterprise data center for backup, migration, and consistent recovery for better compliance with regulations and business mandates.

To that end, McData has entered into partnership agreements with wide area file services (WAFS) specialist Riverbed Technology and storage virtualization vendor FalconStor Software.

The first new product in the ROC portfolio is the SpectraNet WAN Data Services Accelerator WAFS device. The Data Services Accelerator will be offered through an OEM reseller agreement with Riverbed and is a re-branded version of Riverbed's Steelhead wide-area data services (WDS) appliance. The accelerator is a network appliance that uses TCP over a WAN to accelerate application performance at remote sites.

McData is also getting into the Microsoft Exchange game. The company signed another agreement with FalconStor to resell the IPStor replication software as part of an integrated data-recovery solution under the name "SpectraNet Replicator for Exchange." The product provides local file, database, or Outlook mailbox recovery, and remote disaster recovery for Exchange environments.

The company is also bringing a number of its switching products to the remote office party with the inclusion of the Intrepid and Sphereon product lines as well as its Eclipse and UltraNet extension products for replication under the ROC umbrella.

McData is not the first storage networking vendor attempting to extend its reach outside of Fibre Channel fabrics.

Brocade, for example, has had a reseller deal with WAFS vendor Tacit Networks for almost a year and recently acquired NuView, a vendor of enterprise file management software (see Brocade buys file virtualization vendor). Brocade plans to integrate NuView's NAS virtualization software with its Tapestry WAFS solutions.

Steve Duplessie, founder and senior analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group, says both companies (as well as Cisco) have identified the same market opportunity. "McData started putting together strategies for [ROC] about a year ago. They had a lot of the pieces already, so as the market opportunity started to take shape they pulled the trigger," he says.

For every terabyte of data residing in corporate data centers there is at least an equal amount of terabytes spread out at remote branch office locations of a multi-site corporation. According to Duplessie, this scenario has many ramifications. "It means that if you centralize remote IT back to the corporate data center, not only can you keep your remote users from committing hari-kari, but you can also double the amount of capacity under management at the corporate data center—and don't think the vendors don't smell that opportunity," he says.

This article was originally published on March 16, 2006