StorageX was originally a software solution developed to enable a global namespace under Windows. NetApp subsequently OEM’d the product, calling it Virtual File Manager (VFM). Brocade purchased StorageX from its original developer, NuView, Inc. in 2006. Since then, Brocade has not done much with the product, but it did clean up some of the code. In August, 2012, Data Dynamics, Inc. purchased the source code and rights from Brocade, and has done further development on the product, re-releasing it as StorageX 7.0.
Under its reincarnation, StorageX 7.0 will be focused on file storage management that enables enterprises to accelerate migration from legacy to contemporary file based solutions (including, but not limited to, NetApp, EMC VNX and EMC Isilon). Data Dynamics has paid particular attention to improving the NFS capabilities within StorageX that had previously been a underwhelming part of the original StorageX product.
StorageX, when it was first introduced into the market represented an exciting entrant. It provided capabilities in global namespace, that was severely lacking in the Windows CiFS world (now known as the SMB protocol). NuView, the original developers, leveraged the less known Distributed File System (DFS) capabilities within Windows (a feature that had been integrated into Windows, since Windows 98), to enable replication and global namespacing, and other advanced data services that had previously been unseen in the Windows world.
Although the NFS capabilities, as noted above, were underwhelming, it nonetheless filled a gap for Microsoft Windows based servers that were available through bleeding edge parallel NFS (pNFS) at the time.
Under its new leadership, Data Dynamics has re-released StorageX as StorageX 7.0.
Neuralytix analysts have had previous direct and indirect experiences with StorageX. We are disappointed with this current iteration, as its focus is too much on file migration and consolidation – an important and risky proposition for any data center, but one that is what we would categorize as a “once and done” process. We also put StorageX 7.0 product in the category of a nice-to-have, rather than a need-to-have point product.
Data Dynamics is believed to be working on a next generation that will be made available in 1H2014 that is expected to restore many of the DFS capabilities, and extend in 2H2014 into cloud storage as well.
Regretfully, Neuralytix believes that this time line is too little, too late.
With the availability of software defined platforms such as EMC ViPR, we believe that the storage software market will quickly move to meet the first mover advantage EMC is establishing, leaving StorageX behind, without a major industry leading vendors’ distribution and marketing capabilities.
We believe that NetApp would have been the better acquirer of this technology over Brocade. But we also believe that in order to maintain any form of market relevance, Data Dynamics needs to accelerate its development, and realign its licensing to be more competitive.