Virtualization Technology News and Information
Incipient, Inc. Debuts First Storage Virtualization Solution Embedded on FC Switch

Incipient, Inc., the leading provider of network-based storage virtualization software for Storage Area Network (SAN) environments, announced today that its flagship product, the Incipient Network Storage Platform™ (iNSP™) software suite, has successfully completed an extensive beta testing phase and will be generally available (GA) this Fall. Incipient will be the first and only company to make generally available a split-path storage virtualization software solution that is completely embedded on industry standard director-class intelligent Fibre Channel (FC) switches, which requires no additional hardware or software to operate, when compared to competing solutions on the market today. Furthermore, Incipient is the first and only company to have developed split-path storage virtualization software from the ground up, specifically for the intelligent FC switch. Incipient will demonstrate iNSP at the Storage Decisions Conference in New York City, September 27-29, in Booth #209.

“The City of Mesa beta tested iNSP for several months and decided to purchase the software,” said Jeff Boles, IT manager for City of Mesa, AZ, who will participate in a Virtualization Panel at Storage Decisions on Thursday, September 28 at 10:15 a.m. ET (see related press release, “Incipient, Inc. Customer to Participate on Storage Virtualization Panel at Fall 2006 Storage Decisions Conference in New York City” dated September 27, 2006). “We are looking to iNSP to automate our most common SAN management operations and enable us to introduce more efficient processes in our IT environment, especially around data migration and storage provisioning operations. Layering virtualization intelligence on our SAN switches and supporting a wide range of storage arrays, as Incipient has done, inherently extends the value of the significant investment we have already made in our storage infrastructure. During a beta testing phase, Incipient demonstrated iNSP can provide us with a toolset which will allow us to avoid storage vendor lock-in and gain the ability to mix and match heterogeneous storage components. This is extremely important as we expect our storage environment to grow 65 percent annually and this storage environment flexibility will allow us to prepare for and respond to our business requirements for the long term. iNSP will help us scale effectively while maintaining superior performance.”

Incipient Platform Sets New Standard for SANs
Until now, no other storage virtualization software solution had been architected from the ground up specifically for the intelligent FC switch. Incipient holds four core-issued storage technology patents and has several additional patents pending to protect various innovations for storage virtualization technology. iNSP inserts an abstraction layer between heterogeneous storage and hosts to implement network-based storage virtualization with advanced storage services. By treating different classes of storage based on performance, capacity and cost as virtualized pools of capacity, iNSP removes the burden of directly managing the relationship between applications and storage. The intelligent SAN powered by iNSP offers a stable architecture that will scale with business growth, simplify a complex set of point-to-point connections, and take advantage of the investment already made in existing storage infrastructures. The initial platform iNSP supports is the Cisco MDS 9000 Series Multilayer SAN Switches with Cisco Storage Service Modules installed. Subsequent support for other intelligent FC switches will be announced. Intelligent FC switch platforms combined with iNSP are the ideal solution for mid-sized to large enterprise class IT environments that are undergoing rapid information growth and infrastructure expansion.

“For years, ESG has watched the evolution of storage virtualization and listened to the requests of end-user customers who told us they want intelligent data management software to run within their SAN switches,” said Tony Asaro, senior analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group. “Switch-based storage virtualization solutions are only just emerging and Incipient is focused on being a leader in this market. Incipient, with its split-path architecture, leverages the Cisco MDS switch and is actually the first software-based storage virtualization solution that runs natively on this platform. This is an important milestone that has been desired and anticipated by customers for many years.”

iNSP Solves SAN Management Challenges
The iNSP software suite supports all the major OEM storage vendors including EMC, HP, HDS and IBM. It delivers a highly scalable set of integrated storage services, each simplifying complex SAN infrastructures, facilitating the management of inevitable growth and change within the SAN and reducing operational and capital expenditures. The initial set of iNSP services offers unique capabilities to:

• Migrate data without application outage – iNSP Network Data Mobility seamlessly and transparently moves Network-Volumes (virtual), including volumes that are “live,” between heterogeneous and multi-tiered storage arrays transparent to a host or application, without any downtime or taking the host offline.

• Simplify storage provisioning – iNSP Network Volume Management simplifies adding and configuring new storage capacity to the network with true end-to-end automated heterogeneous storage array provisioning. It provides all the feature sets commonly found in host-based volume managers such as partitioning, striping, concatenation and mirroring of array volumes, but does so across a heterogeneous storage environment. This is the foundation and key building block for the iNSP-based integrated storage applications.

• Reduce costs for point-in-time copy services across heterogeneous storage tiers – iNSP Network Copy Services, unlike array-based copy services where copies are made between “like” storage arrays, provides universal point-in-time copies of data between heterogeneous SAN storage. This provides companies with the flexibility to leverage lower cost storage or different classes of storage to house secondary copies for enterprise storage arrays anywhere on the SAN. Low-cost copies of production data can be used for tasks such as backup and recovery, compliance, reporting and software testing.

iNSP Administrator interfaces directly with all iNSP nodes embedded on intelligent FC switches and provides several SAN management and policy-based features including:

• Deep discovery of heterogeneous storage array’s internal configuration in support of automated volume provisioning

• Deep discovery of switches to include zoning and Cisco VSAN information in support of Network-Volume exposure to hosts

• Modeling of host-to-storage data-pathing

• Storage pools and volume class provisioning templates

“With the debut of iNSP, Incipient has demonstrated that network storage virtualization is a reality,” said Ric Calvillo, CEO and co-founder of Incipient, Inc. “We have achieved our mission of delivering to market the industry’s first and only storage virtualization software solution fully embedded on industry-standard Fibre Channel director switches. iNSP meets the needs of enterprise accounts that demand scalability, HA and non-disruptive storage services.”

iNSP will be available through Incipient and Incipient business partners.

Published Sunday, October 01, 2006 4:27 PM by David Marshall
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