Permabit Seeks to Make Its Mark on Storage

Storage start-up Permabit unveiled its latest product offering this week. One of the few companies to address specific content-addressed storage (CAS), Permabit introduced its Permeon Compliance Vault, a complete compliance software solution designed to help enterprises meet the rules of such government regulations as SEC 17a-4, HIPAA, and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The new software safeguards e-mails, instant messages, and other documents from destruction.

Stephen Ellis, co-founder and vice president of business development at the Cambridge, Mass.-based company, says Compliance Vault software turns magnetic
disk-based hardware into non-rewriteable and non-erasable Write Once, Read Many (WORM) storage in order to make record retention management
and data integrity possible.

Ellis says Permabit has worked hard to provide granular, yet stringent, record retention policy control in Compliance Vault. For example, users may extend and set new retention periods in the future, but cannot shorten them.

Still, while it’s one thing to be able to preserve files for the duration of their lifetime, it’s a completely different challenge to be able to efficiently retrieve a single file from a database with millions.

But Permeon’s CAS architecture divides individual files into blocks and assigns each block of data a unique content address, or “finger print” based
on its actual content. The software recalculates this content address as it writes the block to disk, verifying that the record was stored intact, according to Ellis.

Compliance Vault generates content certificates, which record the content address. Customers can use these content certificates to access records and to prove that a record has not changed throughout its lifetime.

Ellis says Permeon’s software also saves just one copy (plus a replica) of any block of data. For all subsequent blocks with the same content, Permeon
saves a pointer to this copy to save capacity. Permeon’s architecture also allows users to distribute data cleanly across storage servers in the system
for balancing resources.

Ellis points out that Permabit’s main rival in the space is EMC , which offers Centera content-addressed storage software as a component of its information lifecycle management (ILM) strategy.

While Ellis believes the Hopkinton, Mass.-based vendor’s technology is sound, he told a key difference is that Permabit relies
on industry standards, such as NFS and CIFS file system interfaces, to sell its software through partners and resellers.
Permabit’s solution works with most e-mail archiving and content management applications.

EMC, in contrast, relies on its own application programming interfaces (APIs), according to Ellis, which means customers can get locked in to using EMC hardware even if they think they can find a better deal elsewhere. It is this pitfall that turns some more discerning customers off to EMC in the storage space.

By bundling Permeon Compliance Vault into hardware systems from the likes of Dell, HP, and IBM, Ellis says Permabit has a great chance to show customers
that its software can enforce retention periods, ensure lifetime record integrity, and benefit from fast record retrieval just as well if not better
than more mainstream vendors.

Story adapted from

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Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor and a senior writer for covering IT leadership, the CIO role, and digital transformation.

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