NeoPath Launches Virtualized Network File Device

While several vendors are finding success in helping clients corral
unstructured data like e-mail and medical records, NeoPath Networks hopes to
cut a swath through the competition with its virtualized approach to file

The Santa Clara, Calif., start-up, whose backers include Java creator Bill
Joy of Sun Microsystems fame, is offering a software-loaded appliance called
NeoPath File Director.

File Director provides networked storage consolidation and access to various
levels of tiered storage to reduce operating costs, while making storage
management easier. The appliance employs a virtualized approach to storing
data on file servers and NAS devices, according to Bob Nusbaum, NewPath director of
product management.

For example, the physical location, name and path of a file are normally
bound together. Nusbaum told File Director decouples
the physical location of a file from its name and path, using a unified
namespace for NFS and CIFS files.

This allows administrators to attach, remove or upgrade servers and storage
without impacting users with zero downtime, thereby improving the
performance and capacity of storage. File Director also makes it possible
for administrators to migrate files based on importance and relevance
through policy rules.

The machine will work with any file server, network-attached storage
or operating system on a network, an attractive value proposition at a time
when gear in data centers is a mixed bag from different vendors.
Specifically, Nusbaum said clients with three to five dedicated NAS products
or 10 to 20 file servers would make ideal customers.

While other management vendors like Princeton Softech corral structured data
at the application, storage area network (SAN) or block levels,
NeoPath is intent on lowering the cost of file management through its
automated, virtualized approach. NeoPath sees itself as competing with
networked storage management providers Rainfinity and Acopia.

Ultimately, File Director is a good fit for clients looking to support their
information lifecycle management (ILM) initiatives, particularly for
customers conducting migrations based on access frequency, date, size and

For example, files from a dated project may be taking up too much space
across a number of file servers. Administrators can set up a policy to
migrate files not updated in the last year from more expensive, fibre
channel storage to less expensive serial ATA

File Director is optimized to run with commodity hardware from Dell, IBM
and HP and has a Linux kernel on top of which sit several software engines
from NeoPath. The company also provides an API for third-party
software services. Selling now, File Director starts at $29,995 for a single
node unit and $49,995 for a two-node cluster, which is recommended.

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