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Primary Data contributes to NFS 4.2

Software-defined storage vendor Primary Data’s open standards parallel NFS contributions made it into the NFS 4.2 standard, which could help the startup make inroads with scale-out storage customers.

Primary Data’s contributions to NFS 4.2 include enhancements to the pNFS Flex File layout that allows clients to provide statistics on how data is used and the performance of the underlying storage.

NFS 4.2 enables clients and application servers to natively support data virtualization and mobility features. That plays well with Primary Data’s DataSphere software that virtualizes different types of storage into tiers using a single global data space.

“Data virtualization sits between hardware and storage arrays below us and the virtual machine space above us, virtualizing compute resources,” Primary Data CEO Lance Smith said. “We separate the logical view of data from where it’s physically stored. Now we can put data on the right type of storage without bothering or interrupting the application. To do that we need a touch point on the client, and that’s what this is about.  When you put our metadata software into the infrastructure, that’s where virtualization comes alive.”

DataSphere supports SAN and DAS as well as NAS, but the integration of Primary Data technology into NFS 4.2 fits with scale-out NAS customers. The NFS 4.2 spec was completed in November.

“We are heavily engaged with media and entertainment companies,” Smith said. “They can now do clustering of their storage, even if it’s from different vendors. Oil and gas is right behind, looking for performance and scale-out. Financial service firms have about 20 percent of their data that’s super hot and needs to be on the highest performance tier, they want stuff migrated to a cheaper tier and use cloud and object storage. But that migration has to be seamless and not disrupt the application.”

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