Rainfinity says its RainStorage NAS management appliance provides non-disruptive data migration, allowing storage admins to use and allocate their NAS systems more efficiently.

Reiner Baumann, Rainfinity's EMEA managing director, says that RainStorage supports heterogeneous NAS systems with no need to install local software agents - everything is done within the IP network instead.

It relies on two key pieces of technology. The first, called ActiveBand, talks to the network switch to set up a VLAN and re-route all access to the NAS system being modified via RainStorage. Once the migration is complete, the NAS system is returned to normal operation

The second is clustering software similar to that used in Rainfinity's firewall and connectivity products; it enables multiple RainStorage boxes to co-operate on shifting up to 10 million files concurrently.

Baumann says that the need to take NAS systems offline before data can be migrated means that many users are not achieving the higher utilisation that could otherwise be expected from storage consolidation.

"The downside of NAS is it's more rigid than a SAN," he adds. "It's hard to upgrade a NAS system, or migrate data to a faster device, because you have to take it offline."

Data mobility means that NAS servers can be consolidated for greater efficiency, while applications can more easily be assigned to appropriate storage, for example on the basis of highest performance or lowest cost. Baumann says this is analogous to the data profiling models proposed for virtualised SANs.

This is the first version of RainStorage to support CIFS: an earlier version which supported only NFS already has several users, including the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories in the US, where 112 NAS systems are deployed, including NetApp and BlueArc boxes.