Storage appliance aimed at high-profile customers

Ocarina upgrades storage appliance for movie studios, hospitals and oil and gas industries

Storage startup Ocarina Networks has upgraded its data de-duplication appliance to further reduce wasted disk space, and is now targeting the product at a wider number of industries, including Hollywood studios.

Ocarina launched its ECOsystem appliance in April, initially targeting photo sharing Web sites such as Kodak EasyShare, one of its customers. The company is now supporting new file types for specific industries, making the appliance useful for social networks, movie studios, oil and gas companies and medical organizations, Ocarina announced Wednesday.

For the movie studios alone, Ocarina had to write algorithms to support 37 new file types, says Carter George, vice president of products and technology. It can take 18 months to make a movie, yet a studio might only be able to afford to hold 30 days of work on primary storage before shipping the data off to tape, George says. Ocarina's ECOsystem (ECO stands for extract, correlate and optimize) allows them to keep snapshots of all their work product on primary storage, he says.

Founded in February 2007, Ocarina was named to Network World's list of 10 data storage companies to watch this year because of its technology to de-duplicate primary storage data. De-duplication is typically used for backup data, but the biggest cost savings could potentially be realized on the more-expensive primary storage.

Features added to Ocarina's product include ECOmove, which lets users optimize a file and move it either to its original location or a new destination; and a Virtual Global Namespace, essentially a master index allowing easy access to files from multiple systems.

A third feature, ECOsnap, is a long-term repository that provides time-sequenced file system snapshots, in which each new snapshot takes up less space than the one before it. The archive gives customers easy access to previous versions of files.

The upgraded version of the ECOsystem is available now. A software-and-server bundle, ECOsystem is used in conjunction with storage systems from vendors such as HP and NetApp. Average costs are about US$100,000, George says.

Ocarina says it can reduce primary storage needs by a factor of 10. Earlier this month, the company announced the "Ocarina Prize," up to $1 million in awards for projects that make the storage industry "10 times more efficient in power, cooling, and space utilization" by 2010.

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