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Everyone's favorite self-proclaimed world leader in Enterprise CMS and information infrastructure, EMC Corp, just announced the EMC Rainfinity File Management Appliance (FMA). The new offering aims to provide lower storage costs and automated archiving and compliance policies across server and network attached storage (NAS) environments. And with a name like Rainfinity, how it could it possibly fail?The Rainfinity FMA is a standalone software solution packaged in a ready-to-install "rack mount" style server. EMC is touting simplicity. The deployment is meant to be quick -- IT managers can pop the software/hardware appliance directly into their server racks -- and the UI meant to be easy enough for first timers to take steps towards enterprise class file virtualization. It is EMC's hope that once customers new to virtualization are comfortable with the Rainfinity FMA solution and are reaping the benefits of virtual file management, they will then be warmed-up to upgrade to EMC's comprehensive virtualization solution -- known as Rainfinity Global File Virtualization. Along with virtual file management, Rainfinity Global File Virtualization also provides: automatic capacity management, global namespace management, the ability to migrate and consolidate storage, performance management, synchronous IP management and tiered storage management. In other words, the Rainfinity FMA solution is the proverbial "foot in the door" to organizations who are interested in virtualization and maybe even compliance, but not prepared to dive in headfirst. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, the Rainfinity FMA hopes to help customers ease into the world of virtualization by providing the following functionality: * Wizards that enable IT managers to setup automated file management policies for moving and placing files across NAS tiers, including archiving directly to content addressed storage (CAS) * Automatically identifying and archiving static files based on customizable policies in order to streamline backup and recovery * Integration with EMC's Centera platform in order to provide single instance and data retention capabilities along with addressing governance and compliance requirements According to Mark Lewis, EMC's Chief Development Officer, "the explosive growth of unstructured data has accelerated the need to simplify and control the rising cost of file system management...Rainfinity FMA is the first step in a complete file virtualization strategy that balances storage utilization while providing a single view across multiple servers, NAS and CAS devices." Although IT managers might demand further proof that EMC's product is "safe, scalable and easy to deploy", they cannot deny the relevance of the advertised features: * Policy-based file management with flexible include/exclude filtering rules (e.g., location, age, size, name, etc.) * Preview mode to review the impact of file placement policies * Automated file movement and retrieval across primary and secondary storage tiers * Multiple sources and destinations and integration with Network Appliance, EMC Celerra and EMC Centera * Restoration of stub files and identification and management of orphaned files * Interoperation with snapshots, backup/recovery, anti-virus and Rainfinity’s NAS virtualization functionality * Automation of naming conflicts If your organization looking to dip its collective toes into storage virtualization and automated compliance, its probably worth checking out the Rainfinity site. If nothing else, understanding how to set a reasonable first phase scope maybe the next step you're in need of.