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Brocade puts file virtualization in a pricey box

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Brocade is shoving its Windows file virtualization portfolio into a separate appliance and adding automated data migration and file-level controls to the metal.

The Brocade File Management Engine (FME) is a 2U rack mounted appliance with ten 1Gb/E ports. The system manages SMB/CIFS data for the Windows Server 2003 and XP Professional operating systems. Vista and Longhorn are not currently supported.

The appliance takes the same Windows distributed file system (DFS) approach to file abstraction as StorageX, the file virtualization software suite Brocade acquired via a $60m purchase of NuView in 2006. But Brocade lists some notable differences between the software and its new appliance.

StorageX already has data migration capabilities embedded, but the process isn't completely non-disruptive like FME, according to Brocade. And while StorageX manages data out-of-band, FME can be moved both in-band and out-of-band depending on the user requirements.

Brocade FME

Brocade FME

The box also offers file level controls, as opposed to the folder-level management offered by StorageX. Brocade attributes the need for this feature to the growth of unstructured file data, particularly on the Windows platform.

FME will be available in April, starting at $100,000 for a minimum 2 node cluster. Pricing goes for $50,000 per node.

It's nice to see the storage switch maker embrace the often exorbitant pricing of the NAS/SAN appliance world, as it moves into new markets.®

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