Product highlights from Storage Decisions conference

By Kevin Komiega

—The product news from this week's Storage Decisions conference in New York was software-heavy, with a new suite for intelligent switching from Incipient, a new release from Microsoft's storage arm, and a bevy of partnerships, including a push by server virtualization vendor VMware into the data backup market.

Network-based storage virtualization software vendor Incipient launched its first product— the Incipient Network Storage Platform (iNSP)—this week. iNSP is a split-path storage virtualization solution that is embedded on director-class "intelligent" Fibre Channel switches. The iNSP software inserts an abstraction layer between heterogeneous storage devices and hosts to implement network-based storage virtualization with data services.

According to Incipient's senior vice president of marketing and alliances, Rob Infantino, the software is designed to address the pains of moving and migrating data to different arrays in large storage environments—in other words, moving data without downtime.

"Moving arrays in and out of storage environments is a nightmare and data mobility is the biggest pain," says Infantino. "The software is embedded on Fibre Channel switches with no additional agents or appliances to install, which shortens the time it takes on both the front- and back-ends to rotate arrays in and out of the data center."

The initial iNSP platform supports Cisco's MDS 9000 SAN switches with Storage Service Module (SSM) cards installed. Support for other intelligent switches will be announced soon, according to Infantino. The iNSP suite supports disk arrays from a variety of vendors, including EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi Data Systems, and IBM.

New beta of DPM
Microsoft announced the public beta of System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) Version 2, with additional support for Microsoft applications and integrated disk-to-disk-to-tape protection.

The current version of the software, DPM 2006, already allows users to restore their own data directly from Windows Explorer or any Microsoft Office application. The latest beta version extends the recovery features to include support for Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server, and SharePoint Portal Server.

"We're trying to combine the best aspects of continuous data protection [CDP] and backup into a single platform to shrink the backup window and give users the ability to restore their own files," says Jason Buffington, a senior product manager at Microsoft.

A free beta version of DPM Version 2 is available at www.Microsoft.com/dpm

Backup vendors support VMware
Server virtualization vendor and EMC subsidiary VMware has recruited a who's who list of backup software vendors pledging support for the company's VMware Consolidated Backup software to improve backup operations in virtualized environments.

VMware Consolidated Backup is a part of VMware Infrastructure 3 Enterprise Edition and uses virtualization technology to enable backup and recovery. Backup software providers CA, CommVault, EMC, IBM Tivoli, Symantec and Vizioncore are all developing modules for better integration between the VMware platform and their own software packages.

VMware Consolidated Backup offloads backup to a centralized server. Offloading backup allows VMware ESX Server, which is also part of VMware Infrastructure 3, to run more virtual machines by reducing its load, and it eliminates hardware dependencies and speeds the backup process during production hours.

According to Karthik Rau, VMware's senior director of infrastructure products and alliances, Consolidated Backup decreases the time it takes for full-system recoveries and simplifies data management by consolidating backups onto fewer proxy servers rather than requiring customers to install a backup agent within each virtual machine

NeoScale adds security partners
In an effort to improve its key management solution for storage security, NeoScale Systems has inked a trio of partnerships with security specialists Entrust, Optica Technologies, and Symantec.

In addition to adding Optica and Symantec as API partners, NeoScale has teamed up with Entrust to incorporate its PKI infrastructure technology for secure access to NeoScale's CryptoStor KeyVault appliance.

NeoScale's key management architecture uses an open client API to integrate encryption devices from multiple vendors into common key management services such as auditing and reporting, key operations, and policy management.

This article was originally published on September 28, 2006