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Ibrix rolls out tiered file migration

An update to Ibrix's Fusion clustered file system software allows policy-based migration of files without changing the global namespace.

Now that you don't hear much talk about information lifecycle management (ILM) anymore, clustered storage vendor Ibrix Inc. has quietly come along with the kind of file migration system the market first envisioned three years ago: automated, policy-based migration of data between hardware tiers without altering the global namespace.

Ibrix's Fusion FileMigrator feature, new to its Fusion 4.2 clustered file system software, supports any type of storage within the Ibrix namespace. Ibrix president Milan Shetti said that Fusion customers consist mainly of high-performance computing (HPC) shops using a SAN and Web 2.0 service providers who prefer direct attached storage (DAS). But that's changing as data grows in both types of environments, and customers seek ways to archive files.

"They want to use DAS to migrate files from a movie project that's finished, for example," Shetti said. "Or they want some of their files on solid-state drives for faster processing."

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When a customer adds hardware to the Ibrix cluster, Fusion automatically expands the namespace. Customers can set policies through the Fusion management console to move files according to size, type, create date or modified date, and the file system will migrate data between hardware devices or between classes of disk in the same device. The migration can be done between separate Ibrix namespaces, and separate namespaces can also be merged with storage still running.

Other clustered NAS products, such as Isilon's IQ storage nodes, can migrate data according to policy between different classes of disk. But Isilon's storage requires Isilon hardware; Ibrix's software can run on any type of block storage. However, the Ibrix version only supports devices that are part of a global namespace, making migration to offsite media, such as tape, impossible

The FileMigrator feature "addresses a huge pain point," said Terri McClure, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group. "No manual migration between storage tiers with all the associated remapping of mount points, no managing Tier 1 in a separate instance from Tier 2 and Tier 3 – it's all managed in the same pane of glass. That's a big ease-of-use and storage optimization play and should appeal to users."

Forrester analyst Andrew Reichman points out that Fusion already had this capability, and Shetti confirmed that customers could migrate files in earlier versions but needed to use scripts. "It's more like a repackage of some existing capabilities, but it's a great idea that solves a real business problem," he said. "It's not a vague ILM thing."

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