I had a chance to meet the CTO of AutoVirt, Klavs Landberg, the other night and to learn about what they do. A small three year old venture capital backed company based in Nashua, New Hampshire, they have what seems to be an interesting idea they call "File Virtualization". They may not be the first with this idea, with EMC, Acopia, and Brocade either in or previously talking about this space, but others may have failed by being too early.
File Virtualization is about breaking the relationship between remote file references and the remote files themselves. By virtualizing the references to remote files and shares, you become free to manipulate where things are actually stored and become more creative about duplication, all without having to worry about breaking an application because you moved things.
If you have worked with DFS and DFS-R (formerly FRS), you probably understand some of the limitations in what DFS provides. Companies that have lots of existing file shares (and who doesn't?) need to pretty much manually modify the application references to shares and files to use DFS. AutoVirt doesn't require you to do this. Instead, automates the process of setting up the indirection by scanning the environment for shares and configures what looks to me to be a DNS broker service. When an application makes a remote file request, that broker redirects application requests to be best location. So now you can use the broker to move or replicate. Being based on DNS, the broker also takes care of locality pretty easily too.
I haven't worked with the product at this point, so there may be lurking issues with what they are doing, but Klavs (pronounced "Claus") had excellent answers to all the questions posed to him by me and others. The company is focused on the enterprise, but I'm not sure that their might not be a more important role in the Cloud for this stuff. Check them out at www.autovirt.com. If you already have checked them out, let us know what you think.