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Storage management tools

Bronze Award:

Nirvanix CloudNAS

Cloud storage generated a flurry of activity last year as a steady stream of products and services hit the market, so it's fitting that one of the promising new offerings, Nirvanix Inc.'s CloudNAS, rounds out the top products in storage management for 2008.

CloudNAS can transform any Linux or Windows server at a customer site into a virtual NAS gateway to the Nirvanix Storage Delivery Network's (SDN) encrypted offsite storage. The main distinguishing characteristic of the Nirvanix approach is the use of standard storage protocols to access the SDN online storage service.

Nirvanix CloudNAS mounts the SDN as a virtual drive that can be accessed via NFS, CIFS, FTP or as a virtual tape library (VTL) target, through supported archiving and backup applications. Other storage services, such as Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3) and Rackspace Hosting Inc.'s Mosso, require development to an API.

Released in October 2008, Nirvanix CloudNAS hasn't had much chance to make an impact yet, but the judges rate the technology as highly innovative. One calls the Nirvanix approach a "great alternative for second-tier unstructured data" with "excellent multisite [disaster recovery] capability."

Once CloudNAS is installed on a server, an administrator can point existing applications and storage processes to it and set file, directory or access permissions. Users access the Nirvanix-mapped drive from their existing applications.

Behind the Nirvanix SDN is a clustered file system that includes all of Nirvanix's globally distributed storage nodes under a single namespace. CloudNAS claims to offer built-in data disaster recovery and automated policy-based data replication on up to three of the geographically dispersed storage nodes.

Data is transferred from CloudNAS via the Internet or Nirvanix cross connect services, which provides a direct connection from the customer site to one of Nirvanix's storage nodes.

CloudNAS is available as a free download for customers that have a contract with Nirvanix for 1 TB or greater. Optional round-the-clock support is available at $200 per month per server.

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