EMC fuses file and archive virtualization

By Kevin Komiega

EMC beefed up its management platform for file virtualization with the announcement this month of version 7.0 of the EMC Rainfinity Global File Virtualization platform. EMC officials claim the software gives users a more cohesive management application for multi-vendor NAS devices and file systems.

With Version 7.0, EMC added file virtualization support for the management of content-addressed storage (CAS), meaning users can now manage both active file data and inactive archive data from a single interface.

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“The new version of the Rainfinity Global File Virtualization platform is a single solution for file archiving and management that can manage across both active and inactive tiers of storage simultaneously,” says EMC Rainfinity director of marketing Jack Norris.

Norris says there are three major components that make up the Rainfinity file virtualization platform: the global namespace or virtualization layer, transparent data movement, and file-level and archiving management capabilities. He says competing products from vendors such as Acopia, Attune, Brocade, and NeoPath have some of these capabilities, but claims that Rainfinity is the first to bring all three together.

The core of Rainfinity’s Global File Virtualization software comprises several technologies working in tandem, including capacity, file and performance management applications, global namespace management, data movement, synchronous IP replication, and tiered storage management, which tracks how often data is accessed to determine where it should be located.

EMC expects the addition of support for Centera’s ability to enforce data retention and deletion policies on a file basis will resonate with users developing information lifecycle management (ILM) strategies.

Version 7.0 of the Rainfinity Global File Virtualization platform will initially support EMC hardware, namely the Centera CAS system. No surprises there, but Norris says EMC is heavily involved in the Storage Networking Industry Association’s (SNIA) development of the Extensible Access Method (XAM) specification. According to the SNIA Data Management Forum, XAM is an application-to-storage interface that is expected to give applications a standard interface and metadata to communicate with object-based storage devices.

Norris says EMC Rainfinity is working toward supporting hardware platforms from other vendors and that the company will support all XAM-compliant hardware systems in the future

This article was originally published on November 01, 2006