Best storage products of 2005


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Storage Management

Gold: Kazeon Systems Information Server IS1200

Kazeon's IS1200 can be clustered to manage data classification and migration for hundreds of millions of files.

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A TIERED STORAGE environment is impossible to achieve without a data classification engine that helps companies to better understand and recover their data. A clear gold winner in its field, Kazeon Systems Inc.'s Information Server IS1200 was the first product out of the gate to catalog and index files. It also provides key services such as searching, resource reporting, file tagging and data movement.

One IS1200 appliance can manage millions of files; appliance clusters can handle hundreds of millions of Unix and Windows files. "IS1200 is an incredibly useful product that solves real issues with compliance," noted one judge.

The IS1200 crawls through both NFS and CIFS shares and collects meta data on the files. Once this process is complete, a file can be automatically assigned to a specific storage tier based on user-created policies. Users can receive hourly, daily, weekly or monthly classification reports. Meta data collection happens on many different levels. Crawls can produce basic classifications based on simple file meta data, such as file type, modification time, author and revision number for Microsoft Office files. Deeper classification is possible using Kazeon's extraction and assignment rules that create additional meta data tags.

It's a hands-down winner with legal firms that must respond to discovery requests in weeks or even days. With electronic documents accounting for 80% of all corporate information, the cost of legal discovery can be staggering. For that reason alone, electronic discovery has become essential for meeting litigation deadlines cost-effectively. Kazeon Information Server IS1200 will process native files, extract relevant content, and copy or move documents to secure storage systems to aid the discovery process.

The IS1200 is a 1U out-of-band appliance with dual Xeon processors, 2GB of RAM and dual Gigabit Ethernet NICs. It doesn't require agents. The Kazeon software offers a command-line interface, but a Java client is also available. Pricing for the IS1200 starts at $50,000.

Silver: MonoSphere
Storage Horizon

Storage Horizon makes short shrift of capacity planning and helps avoid the expense of overprovisioning.

WE LIKE MONOSPHERE INC.'S Storage Horizon because it addresses a very real pain point for storage administrators: managing capacity. "This is an excellent management tool," said one judge.

The traditional way of avoiding out-of-capacity situations is to overprovision and purchase storage in advance of when it's actually needed. But that method is inefficient and expensive. Storage Horizon can lower costs by allowing users to get more out of their existing storage, while predicting future requirements without falling into the trap of overprovisioning.

For example, for enterprises with a $10 million storage budget, a 30% utilization increase saves $3 million. By accurately predicting demand, companies can make more timely purchases and take advantage of declining hardware costs. A purchase deferral of two quarters translates into a built-in discount of 12% to 18%, say experts.

Storage Horizon scored high marks for its technical prowess and cost-saving features. "Few capacity-planning tools are agentless," said a judge. Furthermore, the ability to create advanced queries, detailed forecasting, dashboard and e-mail notification, heterogeneous device support and management reporting all contribute to making MonoSphere's Storage Horizon a useful tool that will make the job of any storage manager a lot easier and more productive.

Bronze: Bycast

Bycast's fixed-content storage system spans multiple storage systems and makes sharing data easy.

BYCAST INC.'S StorageGrid software caught the eye of our judges for its use of commodity hardware coupled with innovative software for fixed content management across geographically dispersed sites. "This looks to be a great product for HIPAA compliance," noted one judge. The little-known Vancouver, BC-based company has deals with Hewlett-Packard and IBM, which resell StorageGrid.

StorageGrid presents the storage system, which can be any third-party hardware, as a network-mounted virtual file system. Data is stored in and retrieved from the StorageGrid via CIFS (Windows), NFS (Unix/Linux), or Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM), an application layer network protocol for the transmission of medical images. Any type of fixed content such as diagnostic images (MRI or CAT scans), or audio and video files can be stored in the system. The software then applies tiered storage rules to automate the process of storing data on the most cost-efficient storage platform. At this time, Bycast addresses only the healthcare market, but it expects to release additional products for other sectors this year.

This was first published in February 2006

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