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Data Dynamics StorageX automates Microsoft DFS namespace management

StorageX 7.5 includes Microsoft DFS automation tools and CIFS-based disaster recovery; vendor plans to target object storage and Hadoop in next release.

Data Dynamics Inc. has released the first major upgrade of StorageX file management software since resurrecting the product last year. The focus of StorageX 7.5 is to automate Microsoft’s Distributed File System global namespace management.

StorageX 7.5 can merge and restore namespaces and update Distributed File System (DFS) links from the end-of-life Microsoft Windows Server 2003 to the 2008 and 2012 versions, respectively. It also allows backup and restoration of standalone and domain-based DFS roots and metadata. It handles one-to-one or many-to-one replication with built-in scheduling and bandwidth throttling.

It also offers CIFS-based disaster recovery, with automated failover from primary to secondary servers, and advanced reporting on status, dependencies, and root and share properties. StorageX 7.5 adds native NetApp migration support for disaster recovery, allowing customers to use NetApp SnapMirror technology as a replication or migration mechanism at the link level.

StorageX is designed to automate storage migration projects by mapping metadata characteristics between source and target file servers. Data Dynamics came out of stealth last year with the StorageX application that was originally developed by NuView Systems Inc. in 2002. Brocade Communications Systems Inc. acquired NuView in 2006 but killed StorageX in 2010.

Microsoft DFS is built into Windows 2003, 2008 and 2012. It consists of two components -- DFS Namespace and DFS Replication. The namespace piece allows customers to group file-server shared folders into one or more logical namespaces, alleviating a need for LAN or WAN routing.

Microsoft DFS can be complex to manage, however, and it lacks migration and data protection features. Data Dynamics is looking to fill those holes, along with helping customers who are upgrading from the 2003 version.

"We are a management interface on the DFS layer and we can take copies of DFS infrastructure based on customers’ requirements," said Data Dynamics CEO Piyush Mehta. "Microsoft provides the ability to have a global namespace. To upgrade to next-generation capability, you have to migrate standalone rows and links to reflect the new target for the 2008 and 2012 servers. It’s not a trivial task. We update the links to reflect the new target."

Terri McClure, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group Inc., said many DFS customers are dealing with the challenge of migrating data, copying file structures and root directories.

"For Data Dynamics, it’s a great market for them to go after," she said. "These file systems are so complex. DFS is not feature-rich and it has some holes."

StorageX 7.5 includes expanded auditing capabilities with StorageX logs presented in the user interface, and does automated health checks to ensure configuration of storage and namespace resources are valid.

Data Dynamics’ Piyush said the next piece of the StorageX roadmap will focus on building a translation layer between object storage and Hadoop with legacy systems. He expects that to come around July 2015.

"There is a lot of legacy infrastructure out there," Piyush said. "You can’t just overnight say, ‘Let’s use object storage and let’s use Hadoop.’ We are coming up with a way to translate to object storage. It’s in development mode."

StorageX 7.5 pricing starts at $50,000.

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