Rainfinity has introduced a network attached storage (Nas) management appliance that can provide data copying between different volumes without stopping online access.
The former NASA spin-off's RainStorage 2.0 appliance is aimed at companies that need to upgrade or consolidate their storage facilities but want to stay in constant operation during this process.
"The ability to reallocate volumes 'on the fly' is very useful. Enterprises will understand the problems and appreciate the solution," said Claus Egge, programme director for European Storage at IDC.
But he added that the price - from about £50,000, with a maintenance cost of between £10,000 and £20,000 per year - means the product will be of interest only to larger companies.
Version 2.0, the first edition of the product to be made available in Europe, adds Common Internet File System (CIFS) for Windows users to the network file system in version 1.0.
Reiner Baumann, Rainfinity's EMEA managing director, said that CIFS support was a significant feature. Microsoft's Shadowcopy, part of Windows 2003, required downtime because it did not allow writing to data that was being copied, he added.
According to Baumann, Rainfinity is aggressively seeking European resellers for the appliance. He claimed that there is an opportunity for VARs to gain services revenue by helping customers with upgrades and consolidation.
He added that he expected three reseller signings to be announced shortly in the UK. Resellers will need good technical expertise, and Rainfinity will provide training.
"Everyone wants it simpler and the black box appliance approach sounds interesting," said Tony Ruane, sales and marketing director at storage VAR RedStor.
"But spending is still tight and a new technology is really hard to sell. The challenge is to make a simple, compelling argument [for the product]. The higher the price, the harder it is."
Computacenter consultant Simon Gay said: "This could be of great interest to systems integrators doing migration work. They will be well aware of the issue it addresses and be able to sell it continually as part of the service."
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