New players in the New Data Center

As companies migrate to New Data Center architectures, it stands to reason that they'll look at a wide range of vendors with new tools to help. Here are seven promising products.

Acopia Networks' Adaptive Resource Switch

As the volume of data grows, so do the challenges surrounding data management, from adding storage devices to increasing the staff to manage them. Acopia Networks' Adaptive Resource Switch (ARX) can help out. The in-band ARX front-ends network-attached storage (NAS) devices and other file servers, acting as a proxy for downstream clients. ARX provides a single global namespace for multiple file storage systems, resulting in a virtual storage environment. Virtualization provides transparent data migration, load balancing and a tiered storage infrastructure that delivers on an information life-cycle management plan, says Tony Asaro, head of Enterprise Strategy Group's storage lab.

"NAS virtualization is a hot topic, and [large enterprises] all say they are either evaluating or considering Acopia ARX," Asaro says. Competitors are EMC, via its Rainfinity acquisition, and start-up NeoPath Networks, which is likewise getting traction, he says.

Acopia's customer list includes Boston.com, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Toshiba and Warner Music Group.

Ibis Consulting, a firm that helps customers with electronic discovery in response to litigation and regulatory compliance, has been using ARX products since January 2005. Ibis creates a virtual path name for each of its projects and assigns some amount of storage space, but it never knows for sure how much storage each project will require. Its two ARX switches have solved that problem, says Cliff Dutton, who had been Ibis CTO before joining Dynamic Communication, a management consultancy, early this year.

"If additional storage is required, it happens automatically," he says. "Ibis has avoided about 30 percent of the costs it would otherwise incur in managing the storage environment, which consists of more than 200TB of data.

Spreading data across multiple NAS systems eliminates I/O bottlenecks. And the ARX gear creates multiple copies of all the data processed for more back-up security, Dutton says - with no throughput overhead hit.

AmberPoint's AmberPoint 5.0

Enterprises that invest in a service-oriented architecture (SOA) often find their existing management tools aren't prepared to monitor such a dynamic environment. AmberPoint's SOA management software addresses a number of challenges, including performance analysis, exception management, validation of function and performance, and secure service delivery.

AmberPoint customers include Best Buy, Fujitsu, Kaiser Permanente, Motorola and Northern Trust. Many of the company's executives come from Forte Software, an enterprise application integration vendor acquired by Sun.

"I like AmberPoint's approach," says Judith Hurwitz, president of the consultancy Hurwitz & Associates. "It's really done its homework to look at what it means to manage an environment where piece parts and components that you're applying to a problem change regularly," she says.

With competitors such as Actional and Blue Titan Software, AmberPoint must strike the right partnerships, such as with major systems management players and other leaders in the SOA space, including HP, IBM, Oracle and SAP, to maintain market leadership, Hurwitz says.

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