Backup System Promises High Scalability, Lower-Cost Storage

StorHouse/MAID, a joint effort between FileTek and Copan Systems, offers the performance and reliability of RAID at the cost and scalability of high-capacity tape.

A backup and archiving product derived by combining technology from two existing storage vendors offers new storage possibilities to large organizations at a fraction of the cost.

StorHouse/MAID, the result of an agreement between FileTek Inc. of Rockville, Md. and Copan Systems of Longmont, Colo., promises to provide the performance and reliability of RAID at the cost and scalability of high-capacity tape.

The new product, dubbed StorHouse/MAID, alters FileTeks StorHouse data and access management system for multiple media by combining it with the Revolution 200T MAID (Massive Array of Idle Disks) from Copan, which was introduced last year. Revolution 200T MAID is a large-scale backup, recovery and archival storage system with the scalability and capacity of automated tape libraries but the data protection of disks, at a much lower cost than tape storage.

By integrating StorHouse with Copans product, users no longer have to worry about managing multiple media, long-term management or rising storage costs, said Alok Guha, chief technology officer of Copan. "They can stay with a single disk image so they can move their e-mail, file data, media data and even database transaction data onto the system," he explained.

StorHouse/MAID handles both structured and unstructured data, something unique in the storage world, Guha said. "There have been point solutions for purely e-mail archiving and purely file storage, but nothing that combines structured and unstructured data," he noted.

The MAID technology is an excellent fit to handle archived data and make it available very quickly at a low cost—features that will make the combined product particularly attractive to large organizations with fast-growing data stores such as government and Fortune 500 companies, said Bill Thompson, FileTeks CEO.

"There are real cost advantages inherent in using MAID technology. Its much faster than tape and much cheaper than disk thats always spinning," Thompson said. "Its the best of both worlds. It offers high performance at disk speeds at prices close to tape."

/zimages/2/28571.gifEnterprises are increasingly turning from tape-based storage devices to disk-based options. Click here to read about how tape vendors are responding.

For Copan, a relatively small and new company, the partnership provides a good route to the market and validation by a seasoned player in the storage arena. At the same time, FileTek gets a more complete solution to offer its customers.

But for both, the opportunity to make greater inroads into a growing market is perhaps the biggest carrot of all, said Anne MacFarland, director of enterprise architectures and solutions at The Clipper Group Inc. of Wellesley, Mass.

"This is a huge and lucrative market, particularly when you consider that retention, the hot button du jour, is only one of the drivers of active and long-term archiving," she said. "There are a number of businesses for whom the aggregation of information is the business, stretching from entertainment through oil and gas to medical imaging and biotech. They all need to keep terabytes of information and, to varying extents, have data managers rather than just application-level file systems to retrieve the information they want expeditiously."

Thompson said the innovative combination of technologies gives FileTek and Copan a leg up on the competition, and touted the product as the first data and access management product that incorporates MAID technology in a significant way.

Thats only partially true, MacFarland said. Products including EMC Corp.s Centera, Hewlett-Packard Co.s StorageWorks Reference Information Storage System and IBMs TotalStorage Data Retention 450 are specifically targeted at the same market and compete with the FileTek-Copan combination, although they may not make the same use of MAID technology, she said.

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