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StorageNetworks unveils trio of storage services

StorageNetworks, Inc., emerged from its post-IPO quiet period armed with an arsenal of new storage services. The trio of new offerings includes the StorWidth family of services, a global platform for storage distribution, NetPacs-Live services with snapshot copy and replication and primary data storage for NAS environments, and a new version of Virtual Storage Portal (VSP) software, a Web-based application that monitors and manages storage resources located at StorageNetworks Storage Points-of-Presence (S-POP) data centers.

The StorWidth services represent an effort by the Waltham-based, StorageNetworks to create the first distributed storage platform by leveraging the its Global Data Storage Network (GDSN), connecting the StorageNetworks Storage Point-of-Presence (S-POP) data centers in key locations across the globe.

"The whole StorWidth platform is really concentrated on the distribution and rich media industry overall," said Bill Brodnitzki, director of services marketing for StorageNetworks. "It serves to get the content closer to where it's needed. It provides high data availability due to multiple-site data replication. In StorWidth we're dealing with very large file systems. We feel we're appealing to a very different audience than some of our other offerings."

StorWidth services are designed for content delivery/distribution providers, ASPs, streaming media and media asset management companies whose applications require a storage platform that can deliver distributed data across multiple geographic locations.

Brodnitzki said that there are two different flavors to the StorWidth services: StorWidth-Core and StorWidth-Edge. The Core offering is an economical, high capacity storage service for customers that possess their own replication schemes and networks and need to quickly move images or applications out from predetermined metropolitan areas to their end customers.

StorWidth-Edge service combines the Core service in at least two geographic locations with distribution software intelligence and network connectivity via the StorageNetworks GDSN. Pricing is based on managed terabytes and GDSN utilization fees based on capacity and bandwidth consumed.

The new NAS service designed to meet the specific data recovery needs of file-based storage systems, NetPacs-Live, provides a snap copy of the customer's primary data source for easy "near-time" file restoration and testing. This incremental copy of the customer data set allows for file restoration and integration with StorageNetworks BackPacs service for regularly scheduled backups. NetPacs-Live service is available on an hourly, daily or weekly basis.

"NetPacs service makes it easy for Internet businesses to offer customers highly secure access to common data from multiple servers," said Steve Duplessie, analyst at the Enterprise Storage Group. "The networked area storage service provides easy file-sharing capabilities among multiple users and operating systems including NFS for Unix and CIFS (Common Interface File System) for Windows systems. By providing effectively unlimited scalability to Internet customers, StorageNetworks allows these customers to focus exclusively on content, which is their intellectual capital."

Completing the triple debut of new SSP offerings is the Virtual Storage Portal (VSP) software. The StorageNetworks VSP version 2.0 software gives customers a single, graphical interface for their dedicated storage resources anywhere on the StorageNetworks GDSN. The VSP software introduces Virtual Storage Management, a vendor/device-independent logical view of storage resources.

Brodnitzki said the VSP also shows a graphical topology of a users entire computer system, not just the StorageNetworks components. "Some of our customers have said that they're not just using it as a computer systems management tool rather than just a storage management service," he said.

VSP software customers are able to securely login and access graphically summarized information about the availability, utilization and performance of their storage services. Both recent and long-term views are available, and there are future plans in the works to utilize the VSP software to request changes in service or make suggestions directly to the StorageNetworks Global Operations Center (GOC in Waltham.

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