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A Babe In The Storage Market Brings Innovation

Scale Eight readies release of operating system and network-attached storage appliance that will let multiple users share a single file.

Some companies with new ideas have held on long enough in the struggling economy to deliver some real innovation to the storage market.

Scale Eight Inc. had about $54 million in venture capital to buttress it since 1999, when it thought it would be a storage service provider exclusively. Fortunately for most companies who don't want to touch that model, Scale Eight got to work on an operating system and a network-attached storage appliance that it will unveil on March 3.

The N2200 NAS appliance will ship in volume by the end of March. It's put together from commodity components and the Distributed Storage Software operating system. Thanks to the commodity components, the N2200 with 6.5 terabytes of capacity is priced at just $105,000, or 1.5 cents per megabyte. As customers scale up to 100 terabytes of capacity by connecting more appliances, they'll barely pay a penny per megabyte.

The DSS operating system includes the Distributed Logical Volume Manager and Dual Data Protection. The DLVM lets multiple departments share a single file as they work through a business process, instead of everyone working on a different file that has to be merged later on. The Dual Data Protection, under the covers, provides simultaneous RAID protection across disks within an appliance and the disks between appliances. This makes it unlikely that a disk outage, which is fairly common, will ever interrupt a user at work.

Enterprise Storage Group industry analyst Steve Kenniston thinks Scale Eight will instantly bring differentiation to the storage market. "There isn't anyone else doing the Dual Data Protection," he says, "and this is the first NAS vendor that has anything like the DLVM."

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