Oct 26, 2010 (11:10 AM EDT)
Caringo Object Storage Software Puts SMBs On Cloud

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Slideshow: Amazon's Case For Enterprise Cloud Computing
Slideshow: Amazon's Case For Enterprise Cloud Computing
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Caringo Tuesday updated its object-based Content Storage Software, easing the way for SMBs and hosted services companies to build clouds by using commodity x86 servers, and provide scaling and redundancy.

Version 5.0 of CAStor adds features that make it easy for SMBs and hosted services firms, as well as enterprises, to create and provision highly reliable and available scalable storage from commodity x86 servers, as opposed to RAID or traditional NAS/SAN solutions.

Objected-based storage means "no file system," said Mark Goros, chief executive officer. "A file system has limits on the size and number of files, and other concerns. CAStor manages the files and their metadata, which includes system metadata that users don't touch, and user metadata such as tags to describe the data. To find an object, you give the UID for a file. The metadata can be used to 'drive' the data, like create rules based on metadata." (Storage “objects” are unstructured digital data, that is documents created by user applications such as Microsoft Office, not databases like email, or for transactions.)

A CAStor cloud storage environment can be used as a private cloud, or as a service, said Goros. "The one or more x86 servers running CAStor create a self-managing, self-healing, self-balancing storage infrastructure," said Goros. "To add more space, you just add another x86 box to the sub-net. Adding more disks or bigger disks means more space. Adding another node -- another machine -- also adds more access paths, which provides more performance. And CAStor is symmetric software -- all machines run the same code, which reduces the administration."

"A CAStor-based cloud is perfect for SMBs, because you can start with as little as one terabyte of storage, and grow seamlessly," said Goros. "We mostly focus on private and enterprise clouds, inside the firewall, used as a storage pool. You can use this to make a public cloud. And many make a hybrid, having a replica in a public cloud, for disaster recovery."

"NAS and SAN aren't very scalable, they don’t store metadata, and they don’t automatically migrate or scale as easily," said Goros. "If you want to store a few TB, these are fine. CAStor is good for storing more data over time. For example, a CAStor installation at John Hopkins Hospital went from 30 terabytes to one petabyte without an IT person to manage it."

A CAStor cloud can be used as primary storage, as secondary/archive storage, or as backup, and can be off-site for business continuity/disaster recovery -- any mix -- according to Goros. "A law firm, for example, can use CAStor to assure that data is available, but protected, can't be changed, and supports multiple locations."

New features in CAStor 5.0 software include named objects, Domains and Buckets, dynamic caching, authorization lists, and multi-tenancy.