Xiotech Aims to Disrupt Enterprise Storage Market

A privately held company based in Eden Prairie,
Minn., Xiotech wants to solve the growing
application/storage conflict with what it calls the market’s first and only
solution for intelligent application storage.

Originally spun off from Seagate, the company believes that storage vendors
focusing on adding management software—i.e., Dell, EMC,
HDS, HP, IBM and NetApp—don’t understand
that virtualization has changed the game. Rather than adding another layer of
complexity and compatibility requirements, the intelligence needs to be in the
applications.

This week it has announced the CorteX API 
and a turnkey, scale-out, network-attached storage solution ISE NAS—that pairs
Xiotech’s Intelligent Storage Element (ISE) blades with Symantec’s FileStore
for file-based data management and protection. Due out in June, ISE NAS enables
rapid deployment and automated provisioning of file storage and clustered file
systems and can scale up to 16 asymmetric or symmetric nodes while storage can
scale out seamlessly and independently up to 2 petabytes behind a single
cluster.

This is a very powerful but cost-effective bundle, notes Yogesh Agrawal, vice president
of FileStore Group at Symantec. "Together, FileStore and ISE deliver an
extremely efficient solution that seamlessly scales from the entry level out to
large HPC environments at a fraction of the
cost of traditional solutions."

Based on a RESTful architecture, CorteX allows ISE to be easily integrated into
software as an application resource to control or automate storage management.
These applications include storage resource management, hypervisors, messaging
applications, database, data center automation, or custom-developed scripts or
applets. Xiotech also launched a community to support CorteX development
(www.cortexdeveloper.com), where visitors can learn more about CorteX, share
software code and best practices, see sample code and start building CorteX
applications.

Xiotech Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development Brian
Reagan tells Channel Insider that Intelligent Application Storage is all about
not having to choose between performance and capacity. The company unveiled its
ISA vision and road map last month, which is built on three pillars:
application-based, scale-out storage building blocks; an application-based
management platform; and an integrated application/storage API.

According to Mark Peters, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, the IAS
architecture seeks to make storage a cooperative partner to applications rather
than a potentially combative issue. "The traditional pain points of
storage—including growth, reliability and flexibility—are only exacerbated in
today’s increasingly virtualized environments, and they cannot be alleviated by
the management friction that is endemic in many traditional IT
environments."

The IT industry has reached an inflexion point, says Reagan. "This new age
for storage is coming at time when storage is being asked to do more and share
better. It creates very interesting tension in the systems." Xiotech is
responding by helping customers do more by buying less, and getting better
performance.

That’s sharp contrast to the classic storage model, says Reagan, who has a long
history in the storage industry, including stints with IBM
and EMC. Companies have been adding more and
more capabilities into the controller level, resulting in a lot of
functionality that just isn’t used. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, he
says. There are fundamental problems with this model, including resource
constraint, the inability to scale linearly and isolation, which is more
pronounced in the virtualization world.

Last year Xiotech grew its channel business by a third, and Reagan says they
intend to do even more this year. "We intend to drive more and more into
the channel." The company has ambitious expansion plans and the channel
will be key to that growth.

"This is a year for us of very significant expansion in revenue, channel
and geographic reach. We’re not going to be able to do that without the help of
our partners."

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