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Summary:

Much like it’s a pain to climb up into the attic to find your Christmas lights or those giant inflatable lawn decorations, getting data out of storage takes time. And heaven knows, we’re not a patient people when it comes to waiting for spreadsheets to load […]

Much like it’s a pain to climb up into the attic to find your Christmas lights or those giant inflatable lawn decorations, getting data out of storage takes time. And heaven knows, we’re not a patient people when it comes to waiting for spreadsheets to load or video files to stream. That’s why storage is becoming more interesting to those who need instant access to a lot of information.

Instead of accessing data on disk drives, startups and the industry giants such as EMC are attempting to come up with faster ways to access information, measuring their progress in terms of how many requests a storage system can process per second. Startup Atrato, which launched this week with $18 million in funding and a name-brand board, says it can deliver 5,000 such transactions per second using its software laid over high-density disks.

But another startup, Gear6 of Mountain View, Calif., is taking a different tack, believing that adding more drives is akin to expanding your attic, and does little to hasten the process of climbing up the stairs to retrieve things. Gear 6 makes an appliance that sits between the storage network and servers and caches the stored data.

Caching is nothing new, but Gear 6 says it can cache up to one terabyte of data, and has built intelligence into the software. That software governing the cache keeps frequently accessed data at the fore, and drops other data out of the cache. If only I could get stuff out of my attic so easily.

  1. yeah, but are these firms going after enterprise exclusively? it seems like emc and others are starting to realize just how lucrative the smb market is for storage (think mozy enterprise and the mozy acquisition, microsoft and google storage futures etc)…could gear6 be looking at downstream and small market opportunities or this really for high end customers?

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  2. Stacey Higginbotham Thursday, February 14, 2008

    Dave, Gear6 is high-end, and Atrato isn’t giving a lot of detail yet about its end market. I am guessing enterprise, though. Cloud storage is nice for consumers, but for the guys serving up the videos we’re watching or the traders trying to access reams of financial data, access to stored data ASAP is the problem.

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  3. This is an example of an article written on a very technical issue by someone who does not understand the technology.
    “its software laid over high-density disks”

    — what exactly is that? Pleaase all of you non tech folks pretending to understand technology — please stay away from it and let the geeks handle it. You non techie folks have scrwed up things enough allready..

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  4. i agree with what dave says… the demand for backup storage is only going to continue growing and growing :| time to buy some mozy stock! :D

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  5. What is the difference between what Gear6 is doing and what RNA Networks in Portland, OR is doing?
    …And where do you see these “appliance in front of storage” systems going? Surely, these startups will be bought up or the big guns will come up with their own caching solutions. But is this just a faster storage system, or is this another answer to Cloud Storage?

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  6. Stacey Higginbotham Friday, April 4, 2008

    J Dawg, I’ll have to talk to RNA Networks, but they look like they’re focused on more than just storage and accessing stored data. I do think these guys will be bought. As for faster storage versus cloud storage, I’m not sure what you’re asking. Storage is storage. Information has to reside somewhere and even in the “cloud” it’s sitting in a box in a data center.

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  7. [...] from startups providing different levels of cache to aid in hasty data retrieval. We’ve covered some before, such as Atrato, which actually offers a box of disks attached to a controller that runs software [...]

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  8. [...] A range of companies are trying to address these sorts of storage problems through compression, caching and even Flash memory in the data [...]

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  9. [...] A range of companies are trying to address these sorts of storage problems through compression, caching and even Flash memory in the data [...]

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