The accumulation of single-purpose tools to address various business requirements has saddled many enterprises with excessively complex, unwieldy storage infrastructures, according to Actifio, a Waltham, Mass.-based startup looking to untangle the storage landscape with a new approach to manage copy data.
Actifio bills itself as “the protection and availability storage platform (PAS) company,” touting its model of virtualizing data management and retention functions in a bid to simplify the thicket of multiple data silos, tools and infrastructure that IT managers deal with.
“The legacy data management approach has been to deploy complex, expensive infrastructure silos,” said Actifio founder and CEO Ash Ashutosh. Separate point tools for applications, such as protection, disaster recovery and businesses continuity, result in enterprises “making and managing redundant copies of data,” Ashutosh said.
“Users end up with individual tools, each independently copying, storing and moving redundant data and restoring overlapping information,” he added.
Actifio cites industry research finding that while production data has been increasing at a roughly 8 percent annual rate, copy data has been on an exponential uptick.
Actifio boasts that its PAS storage platform can yield enterprises as much as a tenfold reduction in costs.
“Organizations are able to describe an application’s data management requirements in a single service-level agreement, which is then enforced automatically by Actifio PAS, thereby reducing time, money and risk associated with data unavailability or loss,” Ashutosh explained.
When users implement Acitifio’s PAS platform, they can expect to eliminate backup and restore windows thanks to instant protection and recovery capabilities. The product also figures to improve business availability and the efficiency of existing storage infrastructure, according to the company.
Underpinning PAS is Actifio’s Virtual Data Pipeline technology, a distributed object filesystem that virtualizes the building blocks of data management–copy, store, move and restore–and repurposes unique bits of production data for the appropriate business application.
Among the efficiencies that Actifio offers is the ability to reclaim 30 percent of a primary storage array through the elimination of copy data for snapshots and a 70 percent reduction in bandwidth required for primary-storage replication.
But Actifio, which formally announced PAS last month following a quiet roll-out period of three years, acknowledges that it faces hurdles as it courts new clients. Chief among those is the attitudinal shift required to embrace the company’s application-centric, service-driven approach to storage, mirroring the trend of IT consumerization.
“The biggest challenge is completely shifting the way customers think about their legacy IT solutions and virtualizing the management of their data, including eliminating backup software,” Ashutosh said. “This is a similar challenge that VMware had initially when introducing the server virtualization paradigm shift.”
Actifio focuses on selling through the channel, and works with a network of more than 100 resellers and systems integrators. Pricing is based on the volume of production data being managed.
Looking ahead, the company plans to layer in new features and capabilities into its PAS platform, including upgrades to address issues such as analytics, compliance and e-discovery.
Kenneth Corbin is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C. He has written on politics, technology and other subjects for more than four years, most recently as the Washington correspondent for InternetNews.com, covering Congress, the White House, the FCC and other regulatory affairs. He can be found on LinkedIn here