Brocade's file virtualisation efforts come to nought

StorageX development roadmap leads into oblivion

Brocade's StorageX file virtualisation push is to end with a whimper, with the formal last ship date passing with a roadmap to nowhere, meaning support withdrawl in 2012.

StorageX enables users to access files from a variety of physical file stores all virtualised into a single file pool with a global namespace. However, customers preferred to keep their files concentrated into a single filer, or else kept in separate file silos and the file virtualisation market has withered as a result.

Brocade obtained StorageX by buying NuView in June 2006 and then selling its main product as Tapestry StorageX. It then pushed the idea of a FAN, a File Area Network. This was conceptually similar, loosely speaking, to a SAN - a Storage Area Network.

This never really took off, being more a marketing idea than a product one. It had some successes and Brocade gained reseller agreements with NetApp and IBM, who both sold it as VFM, meaning Virtual File Manager. HDS joined them in June 2008. Now, roughly three and a half years on from the NuView buy, the product has crashed and burned and is now formally being declared dead. Brocade wrote to customers in May, saying:

This letter is a formal notification that Brocade is initiating the End of Life (EOL) process for the BROCADE StorageX, Brocade File Lifecycle Manager (FLM), Brocade File Management Engine (FME), and Brocade MyView. Pursuant to the terms of your agreement with Brocade, this letter serves as your formal written end-of-life notification, which will allow for appropriate planning and opportunity for last time purchases.

Brocade will provide ongoing service for the installed base of the above mentioned products per the terms and conditions outlined in your agreement with Brocade.

The objective of the Brocade account management team is to smoothly transition from reliance on these products by planning to the following milestones:

The main milestones are:-

EOL Final, non-cancellable, non-returnable orders due - November, 1st, 2009

EOL Last Ship - November 9th, 2009

End of Support - November 9th, 2012

Last ship has just taken place. Planning to these milestones, for all Brocade and HDS StorageX customers, and IBM and NetApp VFM customers, means abandoning the product or moving to some other supplier's platform.

There is an alternative supplier - AutoVirt - and it has created a StorageX Swap-out Program for people to transition off the dying StorageX platform to AutoVirt. Customers going this route will get a 50 per cent discount off perpetual software licenses of AutoVirt, a year's free AutoVirt support, and StorageX import functionality that automatically recreates the entire global namespace. AutoVirt claims this needs just a couple of clicks.

That sounds pretty good, especially if the alternative is product oblivion. ®

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