Video: Why Xiotech is a True Innovator

Eric Lomascolo, director of product development, demonstrates new management tools that knocked the socks of of our storage analyst, Jon Toigo

Even a cursory survey of the storage industry would lead a rational observer to the conclusion that Xiotech is a true innovator. Just 24 months ago, they presented consumers with one of the highest performing rigs on the market, the Intelligent Storage Element (ISE). ISE was introduced as the Emprise line of storage arrays, set to replace the company’s older Magnitude series arrays.

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On its face, ISE was a breakthrough, featuring a new way of writing data to disk that fully utilized capacity and relegated RAID to the dustbin of history. ISE also featured the unique capability of enabling disk drives to be repaired in place -- automatically. That enabled Xiotech to offer a bumper-to-bumper five-year warranty at no additional cost that beat anything else available in the market.

The thing that struck us as the coolest feature of ISE was its on-board management: open W3C Web Services standards-based management, called ICON, opened the door to all sorts of deployment possibilities. ISE could be deployed and managed in any infrastructure, however geographically dispersed, and managed via any Web browser. It could also, in the future, be integrated effortlessly with other hardware and software, regardless of vendor, provided the vendor also embraced Web Services standards. This strategy enabled Xiotech to obtain through partnerships the functionality that many storage vendors were embedding directly on array controllers. The result was that ISE was not a “storage stovepipe” but a Lego-style storage building block capable of building any kind of storage topology required by an application.

Many people questioned the Xiotech strategy, which does not generate revenue in the manner that most storage vendors use: charging extra for value-added functionality on array controllers, then charging a premium for one- or three-year maintenance contracts. Could Xiotech’s business model keep the company viable?

If the company’s current spate of announcements are any indication, the answer is clearly yes. Xiotech has released a new generation of products, replacing its SOAP-based ICON Manager with a new set of management software based on REST. REST-based management is easier to design and deploy for both Xiotech and its ecosystem partners, which include Symantec and a host of others. Demonstrating the new rig and the new management tools, Eric Lomascolo, director of product development, knocked our socks off with a demonstration of ISE management using first an Apple iPad, then his handy iPhone.

To see the other parts of this interview, visit the C-4 Project at

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