NeoPath Networks Unveils Network File Director

Seamlessly integrates all network file storage to provide global file access, centralized management and transparent auto-migration of live file data

SANTA CLARA, Calif. ­ December 6, 2004 ­ NeoPath Networks, Inc. announced the release of the NeoPath File Director, an intelligent appliance that seamlessly integrates with existing servers and storage to efficiently manage unstructured data and allow the creation of highly scalable, simple-to-manage, heterogeneous NAS and file server infrastructures.

NeoPath¹s File Director enables companies to easily virtualize all file servers and NAS devices in the enterprise ­- without regard to vendor or operating system -- by decoupling the physical location of a file from the file's name and path as seen by the application or user. Users no longer need to know which particular file server holds their data, and administrators no longer need to be limited by the constraints of existing servers, increasing utilization while reducing management costs.

This decoupling lets storage administrators gain substantial operational and financial benefits via the simplification and automation enabled by the File Director. Using the File Director, administrators can seamlessly consolidate and increase utilization of existing storage, scale performance and capacity on demand (and with zero disruption to users), and implement transparent, policy-driven file migration that allows IT personnel to move data throughout the virtualized file-serving infrastructure at any time without impacting users.

"We have been using the NeoPath Networks File Director for over 6 months to manage file activity at the network level. This has given us much greater access to data and has saved us more than $100,000 in real costs," said Jim Poehlman, Strategic Information Officer for Ubicom. "With NeoPath¹s tiered storage migration capabilities, we now manage and move live data on the fly and add or remove storage while users are accessing the files. This level of flexibility allows our infrastructure to grow transparently, allowing business operations to generate revenue while IT operations optimize the storage environment to reduce costs. The File Director is a critical part of our infrastructure that has saved us money and reduced our work load."

Deployment of the File Director is simple and flexible. Users can be presented with a virtual share or export that is identical to what they were using before the File Director was installed. Alternatively, the administrator can customize a unified namespace that can span, pool and unify NAS systems and file servers from multiple vendors.

"NeoPath¹s File Director opens the door to allow companies to create highly scalable, highly cost-effective heterogeneous NAS infrastructures that maximize productivity for users and for administrators," Rajeev Chawla, founder, president and chief executive officer, NeoPath Networks, said. "Using the File Director, administrators can simplify and automate the management of unstructured file data -­ dramatically lowering the cost of file storage without having to replace any existing servers -­ and enable flexible and optimized infrastructures that deliver reduced operational and capital costs for business."

Consolidating "Siloed" NAS Storage for Maximum Utilization

The release of NeoPath's File Director brings a powerful new tool for NAS storage consolidation, maximizing resources by creating virtual servers with virtual directories out of existing storage. With the File Director, administrators can take existing shares and exports and create directory tree structures using a highly customizable unified namespace for NFS and CIFS files. Going far beyond basic file virtualization, the File Director can create flexible hierarchies that are organized to best meet the needs of different departments within an organization. Instead of unused or underutilized storage trapped in isolated NAS or file server "silos," all file storage capacity can be used efficiently to meet cost and performance requirements.

"NeoPath is offering a solution that is targeted at the intersection of two important trends: networked storage consolidation and tiered storage access," said Greg Schulz, Senior Analyst for Evaluator Group. "These trends represent value for the customer, by reducing both operating and capital expenses while addressing some of the headache associated with managing networked storage."

Network-Centric File Management Brings Performance, Productivity Benefits

Implementing file management via the appliance at a network-centric level enables an infrastructure-wide approach to interacting with data, allowing companies to achieve substantial productivity and workflow advantages over competing solutions.

By utilizing NeoPath¹s File Director, administrators can transparently move data and physically attach, remove, or upgrade servers and storage at any time without impacting users. With a NeoPath-enabled solution, administrators can easily scale performance and capacity on demand, and easily migrate data during normal working hours, reducing overtime costs, wear and tear on administrators and fatigue-induced errors. Policy-driven migration can be used to gather recently created and modified files to optimize backup windows, and policy-driven placement of files can ensure even distribution of capacity consumption and of workload, maximizing performance for the entire file server network.

Supports ILM Initiatives with Transparent, Policy-Based Live Migration

The File Director's policy engine also supports Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) initiatives by performing live migration based on combinations of criteria such as access frequency, date, size and location. For example, files from an engineering department project completed a year ago may be taking up many gigabytes across a number of file servers. Administrators can set up a policy to migrate files not updated in the last year from the engineering department¹s premium high-performance file servers to low-cost Tier 2 storage. Moving these older files frees space on the engineering servers for their latest project, but any user using these files will still see them in their original location.

In another example, gigabytes of low priority, seldom accessed files that are spread across servers (identified by the File Director¹s real-time reporting functionality) can be easily migrated via a policy to older, lower cost servers that are backed up on a less frequent schedule. With the File Director, users will still see these files in their original location, but in this case administrators are able to free up expensive Tier 1 storage and associated backup resources for high priority files and the best possible performance.

Pricing and Availability

NeoPath's File Director is priced starting at $29,995 for a single unit and $49,995 for a two-system, highly available cluster. The product is available now.

About NeoPath Networks

Founded in April 2002, NeoPath Networks develops Network File Management (NFM) solutions for transparent scaling and management of network file storage resources. For more information, contact NeoPath Networks at (408) 970-0300 or visit