Open-E Adds Enterprise Features For Custom Storage Builders

Among the new additions to its storage operating system is failover for iSCSI storage, WORM capability, and NDMP compatibility, said Krzysztof Franek, president and CEO of the Puchheim, Germany-based developer.

Open-E's product line includes software that turns an industry-standard server into either an iSCSI storage appliance, a NAS appliance, or a storage appliance that allows both iSCSI and NAS capabilities.

The move gives Open-E the ability to attract customers in more high-end environments, including Fortune-500 companies, said James Huang, product marketing manager at Amax Information Technology, a Fremont, Calif.-based system builder and Open-E partner.

"It will let us compete with companies like NetApp and EMC feature-wise," Huang said. "We've been getting customers asking for solutions that were not available on the Open-E platform in the past. The price point of the Open-E solution, combined with the new features, makes it a much more attractive alternative for customers."

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The iSCSI failover feature allows two custom storage appliances to be configured in an active-passive configuration in that one device is in production while its data is mirrored to the second device, Franek said. Should the first machine have a problem, the second automatically takes over while a message is sent to the administrator, giving him or her time to fix the downed machine, he said.

The WORM (write once, read many) feature comes from demands by customers affected by government regulations that certain types of data must be stored in a format which can be read and accessed but which cannot be altered or deleted, Franek said.

Open-E is currently applying for certification of its WORM technology, but for now it is working quite well, Franek said. "You can only change the data by re-formatting the hard drive or destroying it with a hammer," he said. "Even the programmer who wrote the code is unable to change the data."

With the addition of NDMP, or network data management protocol, capabilities, storage appliances based on the Open-E software can work with a wider range of storage devices for data backup and recovery, Franek said.

Going forward, Open-E plans to add NAS failover to its software. Also slated is active-active failover, which is the first step towards clustered storage, Franek said. Both features are expected to be available soon, he said.

Open-E has been growing in the U.S. market fairly rapidly. The company currently has 12 employees in the U.S. compared to only two in November, Franek said. The growth has allowed the company to increase its channel presence.