RealTime IT News

Why Rip and Replace When You Can Replicate?

Network Appliance  no longer wants to be noticed solely as a maker of storage boxes, so it's stoking the fires of its data management strategy.

The company has rewritten the ReplicatorX replication software it acquired from Topio last year to work with storage arrays from any vendor, including EMC , IBM , HP  and Hitachi Data Systems.

So, while those vendors may offer replication software that works only with their own storage arrays, ReplicatorX doesn't discriminate, opening up the potential for NetApp to sell the software into datacenters hosting storage devices from several sources.

ReplicatorX runs as an agent on any operating system and also works with any protocol, including Fibre Channel SAN, iSCSI, direct-attached storage (DAS) or internal disk.

Jay Kidd, senior vice president and general manager in NetApp's emerging products group, said the new dimensions in flexibility are geared to help customers avoid the vendor lock-in problem, where customers have to build exact replicas of primary servers on the recovery, or secondary side.

"While NetApp may not be present in an account, we have an opportunity to penetrate by offering replication software, which in many cases is better than what exists on the native storage array," Kidd said. "We can copy from anybody's primary to anybody's secondary storage."

Whenever a write goes from the application host to the primary storage, a copy of that write is sent across the wire to the secondary storage. The ReplicatorX appliance receives it and assures the writes from the secondary site are applied in exactly the same mode as they occured on the primary site.

Moreover, ReplicatorX has almost no impact on application performance and can replicate data up to any distance.

Kidd said NetApp expects ReplicatorX to penetrate environments where NetApp has no hardware but the businesses want to improve their existing replication software from EMC or IBM, etc. The company will also sell it with NetApp secondary storage by luring customers with the promises of snapshots, or point in time copies of the replica.

Kidd also said NetApp has tailored ReplicatorX for disaster recovery (priced per terabyte), data migration (priced per week or month), business continuity service providers (priced per terabyte) and cloning for test and development (also priced per terabyte).

In related news, NetApp enhanced its SnapDrive, which automatically provisions storage to a server. The latest version of SnapDrive for Windows includes a new space reclaimer feature that enables customers to improve the way the primary storage and secondary storage perform.

NetApp has enjoyed significant storage software growth so far in 2007, according to researcher IDC. In the first quarter this year, the company posted slaes of $270 million, a better than 49 percent growth from Q1 2006 and good for a 10 percent share of the storage software market.

Also, NetApp boosted the Unix support for its Virtual File Manager Enterprise Edition (VFM-EE) and now can manage file data for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.0 and Solaris 10.0.