Startup Of The Week: Cleversafe Scatters Data For Safekeeping

A new release of the company's open source storage grid software is a precursor to a commercial offering next year.

John Foley, Editor, InformationWeek

October 12, 2007

2 Min Read

Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Cleversafe's "dispersed storage" grid software breaks data into pieces for archiving in a dozen or more servers, then reassembles it as needed. The concept isn't new, but Cleversafe thinks its commercial, open source approach will give the technology wider appeal. Beta testing will begin in a few months.

PRODUCT: Software that disperses data across a storage network

PRINCIPALS: Chris Gladwin, chairman and CTO; Jon Zakin, president and CEO; Jamie Bellanca, VP of development

INVESTORS: Alsop-Louie Partners, NEA, OCA Ventures, individual investors Casey Cowell and Chris Galvin


Zakin stepped in as CEO six months ago

WHAT'S NEW? Version .74 of Cleversafe's Dispersed Storage Network software, released this week, comes with an iSCSI interface for easier integration with Linux, Solaris, and Windows. It incorporates the Cauchy Reed-Solomon information dispersal algorithms, providing control over how many servers are used to house data and how many are needed to reassemble it. BUSINESS MODEL Cleversafe's technology is available as open source for companies that have the resources to deploy it, and it will be available next year in commercial form for those that want help. Other vendors could use the technology to offer dispersed storage systems and services. Cleversafe's commercial license will come with support and indemnification, while the open source license is offered "as is" without legal protection. Open source development efforts are centered at THE MARKET Information dispersal algorithms, or IDAs, have been used for years by government agencies to divvy data files into pieces for later reconstruction. Benefits include security (deconstructed data can't be read) and reliability (dispersed data can be reassembled even if some storage nodes fail). Cleversafe developed its own IDAs and released them last year as open source under GPLv2. Cleversafe is working with partners to create a "dispersed storage network" that can be used to evaluate the technology. TOP DOGS Zakin, an original board member and former investor in the company, was named president and CEO in May. He replaced Gladwin, a Cleversafe founder, who continues as chairman and CTO. TIMELINE Timeline Chart

About the Author(s)

John Foley

Editor, InformationWeek

John Foley is director, strategic communications, for Oracle Corp. and a former editor of InformationWeek Government.

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