Permabit Shifts Gears

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Permabit, which once had lofty hopes of being a standalone storage systems vendor to be reckoned with, has toned down its approach.

Finding it tough to crack into the daunting market shares of incumbents like EMC, IBM and HP, Permabit has scaled back, shedding its hardware offering to sell software that houses, guards and retrieves information for long periods of time.

The company this week unveiled the Permabit Dynamic Information Grid (DIG), a marriage of grid storage technology and the company’s Dynamic Information Services (DIS) software.

DIS, known as Permeon in its previous incarnation, boasts features that make it an efficient centerpiece for a grid of storage arrays, according to Jim Geronaitis, vice president of marketing and product marketing for Permabit.

Such features include: a node-based design that eliminates the need for major data migration; a new information discovery service module that allows users to find and retrieve information based on search technology from FAST Search and Transfer; reporting and management analytics; capacity utilization and chargeback; automated load balancing; automated de-duplication of information; and automatic data redistribution and protection.

Geronaitis said the Permabit Dynamic Information Grid lets customers scale from terabytes to petabytes to meet archive requirements.

The main difference in Permabit’s hardware/software system approach is that the Cambridge, Mass., company has removed the distasteful fuss of major hardware upgrades.

Permabit partner Avnet Applied Computing Systems (ACS) takes the DIS software, bundles it on generic hardware and sells it as DIG for Permabit.

“We’re taking off-the-shelf hardware, building it in a grid configuration and putting our software on it to manage the grid and provide the services required for compliance and litigation support in long-term archiving,” Geronaitis said.

The executive said Permabit stands a good chance in the archiving and compliance software market in tempting customers with a grid approach because hardware requires a forklift upgrade every three or four years.

“We don’t have to do a forklift upgrade,” Geronaitis said. “We can add new technology into our compliance storage without having to affect the content addresses or audit trail.

“If you take a hardware approach, like an EMC Centera, when your three years comes up, you have to physically remove all of that information off of the system and put it on a new system. Everyone of those steps is an audit nightmare because you have to be able to prove, in the case of litigation or compliance, that that information never changed.”

By its distributed, independent nature, the storage grid lets companies automatically redistribute storage resources and move to more advanced storage technology down the road.

Geronaitis said Permabit believes the market opportunities for its storage grid are great, so much so that the company next month will begin offering the DIS to original equipment manufacturers (OEM).

In this arrangement, OEMs will be able to build their own storage grids, layer DIS on them and resell them to their customers as they see fit.

Permabit is looking to redefine itself in a compliance and archiving market that seems to be a bottomless well of opportunity; compliance regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA are here to stay and the data that those mandates hold sway over is growing at an exponential rate.

Article courtesy of

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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