March 26, 2012

Extending Dispersed Storage

Datanami Staff

In the midst of the increasing noise around big data from the storage industry are a handful of companies that are taking noteworthy approaches to tackling the demands of data volume and diversity.

Among these are Chicago-based Cleversafe, which is has been perfecting its “dispersed storage” approach wherein erasure codes are used to chop up data and use the TCP/IP monorail to send the resulting “slices” to an appliance.

The small, privately-held company garnered a few headlines earlier in the year when it announced its 10 exabyte storage system configuration as well as a partnership with Lockheed Martin. The technology alliance was built to support a new level of storage capacity to handle active archive, data security, video and imagery, Sharepoint and distributed computing needs in a storage cloud.

According to Cleversafe’s Russ Kennedy, who heads up product strategy, there is a clear need for this type of technology as companies grapple with big data requirements. As he noted, “IT managers are wrestling with putting together a storage strategy to capture, contain and analyze immense volumes of data, that’s sustainable and scalable for decades to come, but they need to keep costs down and risks in check.”

This week the company announced extensions to their Slicestor line of object-based dispersed storage technologies. The company says that the goal is to lower cost and power demands, increase reliability and integrate into the realm of its own existing Dispersed Storage Network architectures for tackling of big unstructured data.

According to Cleversafe, the 4U form factor with 45-drive enclosures provide sufficient processing, memory and networking capacity to preserve big data assets with the option to hit the 3TB capacity mark.

As Kennedy explained, “Cleversafe’s new Slicestor models meet those needs head on and deliver the lowest cost per terabyte and the lowest power consumption watt per terabyte of any disk-based storage product on the market.” The efficiency angle appears to be one of the top priorities in this announcement. Cleversafe  ;says that even at maximum capacity (3 TB) cost-optimized or performance-optimized SATA disk drives are still the most efficient, capable of reducing power consumption between 70 and 90% over traditional storage systems.

Simon Robinson from 451 Research weighed in on the need for solutions that can address the ‘live archives’ of unstructured data. As he stated this week, “We are entering an era of Exabyte-scale storage, and innovations such as object-based dispersed storage offer a real alternative to traditional approaches for data intensive organizations, especially when they minimize risk of data loss and have the potential for significant cost savings by eliminating unnecessary replication.”

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