Data Storage Startups Focus on Cost

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Two data storage startups launched this week with a message for the times: Doing more with less.

MaxiScale and Symform are aimed at different markets, but both promise users resilient storage infrastructures for less.

MaxiScale has developed a clustered file system that runs on commodity hardware and is aimed at Internet-facing applications that process billions of small files.

MaxiScale’s FLEX platform optimizes small file performance to handle the majority of files uploaded, accessed and downloaded on the Web. The startup claims its Peer Set architecture and single-disk I/O small file operations “allow data centers to linearly scale a single namespace to hundreds of petabytes, eliminate forklift upgrades and reduce disk spindle counts by a factor of 10.”

Co-founders Gianluca Rattazzi and Francesco Lacapra hail from high-performance NAS vendor BlueArc, experience that will come in handy as the company goes up against other clustered offerings from the likes of HP (NYSE: HPQ), NetApp (NASDAQ: NTAP), Isilon (NASDAQ: ISLN) and a number of open source clustered file systems.

Greg Schulz, senior analyst and founder of StorageIO Group, said MaxiScale “is taking a different approach addressing a different value proposition and problem. That is, instead of playing to the large sequential or possibly parallel write and throughput markets served by some, they are going after the massive scale-out opportunity, where the problem is managing ultra-large numbers of small objects such as photos, tweets and the like that require concurrency, or lots of small random IOPS.”

IBM (NYSE: IBM), HP and Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC) are others in the space that make their software available for use on other vendors’ hardware, Schulz said. “They have an interesting story; it’s one to keep an eye on,” he said.

Symform’s Cooperative Storage Cloud

Symform unveiled its Cooperative Storage Cloud, which it says allows small businesses to implement a backup and disaster recovery solution “that is more secure and ten times cheaper than traditional online backup services.”

The company, founded by Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) veterans, has developed software that aggregates unused storage capacity from participating companies and turns it into “a secure and reliable global storage system,” breaking up and encrypting files and storing them on the unused server and storage space of other participants. Symform calls its proprietary technology RAID-96.

“Symform is simply a better way for small businesses to implement and maintain an off-site backup for disaster recovery,” stated co-founder and CEO Praerit Garg.

Symform has developed a reseller channel of more than 300 IT service providers to offer the service.

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.
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