F5 bolsters file virtualization management

By Kevin Komiega

-- File virtualization specialist F5 Networks is set to announce a pair of new products next week for moving and managing unstructured data.

The first of the planned products is the F5 ARX4000, a switch that provides global namespace and data management policies through an operating system common across all ARX models. The ARX4000 is also the first of the company's file virtualization switches to support 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) networking.

The second new offering is the F5 Data Manager, a software-based management platform that runs on a Windows machine and interfaces directly with all file storage devices and ARX switches. The Data Manager gathers file storage statistics and provides graphical reporting and trending functions, all of which is designed to help customers plan for future growth.

Nigel Burmeister, director of product marketing at F5 Networks, says the ARX4000 fills a scalability and performance gap in the company's current product line, while the Data Manager will give customers more control over how they manage and grow capacity for file storage.

"Customers need better tools for capacity forecasting and reporting for file storage environments. It's an area of management in which the industry has been sadly lacking," says Burmeister. "It is very difficult to get a view of constantly changing file storage environments as more systems and devices get added."

The Data Manager software interfaces with back-end file systems and F5's ARX file virtualization switches to monitor data in both physical and virtual environments. Data Manager collects a range of statistics, including file type, age, size, and more, using an optional File System Inventory Module (FSIM). The software rounds up that information and generates cumulative reports across a customer's entire virtual infrastructure.

Customers can now download a free, 40-day trial version of Data Manager. The base price for the software is $1,500 and the cost of the FSIM is $10,000.

The ARX4000, also available now, can support approximately two billion files and features 12 1GbE ports or two 10GbE ports in a 4U-high rack for $185,000.

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This article was originally published on October 03, 2008