A US-based start-up has emerged from stealth mode today, and is set to introduce Windows data migration software aimed at mid-size businesses, a sector it feels desperately needs affordable data migration tools.

According to a survey carried out by AutoVirt, businesses are vastly over-provisioning their NAS (network-attached storage) resources. This in turn leads to low utilisation rates, with the survey finding that Windows servers had average utilisation rates of 20 percent, while Windows storage had average utilisation rates of 30 percent.

AutoVirt says that this, coupled with the growth of unstructured data, and the fact that IT managers are frequently lumbered with manually doing data migration themselves, provides it with the chance to save mid-size businesses money by using its out-of-band file virtualisation product, so IT managers can consolidate their storage resources, a message bound to appeal to any financial director in the current economic climate.

AutoVirt calls its offering the "first fully automated and transparent data migration solution geared specifically for networked Windows file systems." It is worth pointing out that the product is only available at the moment via an early adopter program that will run until April next year.

"We are pursuing the problem of migrating of unstructured file data, specifically in the Windows environment," said Klavs Landberg, AutoVirt's CTO and founder. "This is a very painful problem for users at the moment, and we have built a file virtualisation platform to help."

"Users are suffering greatly from data migration," Landberg told Techworld. "Often, they have to take all their systems offline all weekend, baby sit them, and manually do data migration. Come Monday morning, IT managers often have the additional headache of having to modify all of the clients."

Landberg said AutoVirt is looking to resolve this problem, as users want a transparent data migration solution, that can automatically preserve security issues, and not be limited to be a particular configuration. It must be easy to deploy, with little downtime required and no configuration changes, and no client software agents.

This led to AutoVirt creating its out of band offering, that introduces no additional latency, offers unlimited bandwidth, with no network impact and no back-end configuration restrictions. Landberg says that AutoVirt can offer online data migration that is automated and completely invisible to clients.

Landberg says the startup is aiming squarely at mid-size businesses and is remarkably up front about how it will appeal to that sector. For example, for small businesses, AutoVirt's solution has an average selling price of $10,000 (£5,710) for up to 500 NAS users, which is more expensive than the rival offerings from SecureCopy and MigratePro.

However, AutoVirt's solution (for more that 500 NAS users) costs around $25,000 for midrange customers, and $100,000 for enterprise users, which is much cheaper, according to Landberg, than the competing products from the likes of EMC, F5 Networks and Brocade.

This means that AutoVirt will appeal mostly to those companies with a single datacentre and single IT department.

Founded in 2007, AutoVirt also announced that it had received $500,000 in seed funding, and $4 million in Series A funding from Sigma Partners and Kepha Partners.