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Incipient offers data migration without storage virtualization

While IBM is upgrading its SAN Volume Controller (SVC) virtualization platform, Incipient is taking one of the major features of its storage virtualization product — data migration — and spinning it off into a separate application.

Incipient today rolled out Incipient Automated Data Migration (iADM), which is designed to automate and manage large data migration projects.

Migration is supported in Incipient Network Storage Platform (iNSP), switch-based virtualization software that competes with EMC Invista and LSI’s StoreAge SVM. It’s no secret that switch-based block virtualization has been a bust compared to IBM’s network-based SVC and Hitachi Data Systems’ array-based virtualization. Incipient isn’t waiting for the market to come around.

[iADM] “is not storage virtualization, it’s process automation for storage,” Incipient marketing VP Rob Infantino said. “This is used with or without storage virtualization. Some customers think storage virtualization is still risky because we’re adding an abstraction layer between the host and storage, but they need data migration capability.”

iADM doesn’t permanently take control of LUNs. While iNSP requires a Fibre Channel switch, iADM sits on a Windows server and connects to the storage fabric via Ethernet. It performs the discovery of devices on a SAN, maps hosts to source LUNs, and does the LUN masking, auto zoning and host reconfiguration. iADM works with array-based data movers, such as EMC’s SRDF and SANCopy. The idea is to make large migration projects go faster and save companies from having to pay huge services fees.  Incipient is aiming iADM at shops with more than a petbyte of storage and looking to migrate hundreds of terabytes. Licenses typically run from $2,000 to $2,500 per TB, depending on how many TBs are migrated.

Since the migration requires a few hours of downtime for hosts to recognize the new targets, it’s usually done on weekends. After the migration, customers can pull out the iADM software.

Infantino says the new product doesn’t mean that Incipient is backing off switch-based virtualization. He won’t reveal how many customers Incipient has, but says it does have some $1 million-plus deals with major financial institutions using iNSP. Now it’s working on upgrading iNSP to add remote replication, support for software from VMware, NetApp’s Onaro and Akorri, and greater scalability.

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