SAN JOSE, Calif. Startup Greenbytes (Westerly, R.I.) emerges from stealth mode today with unique algorithms that can help reduce the size and power consumption of the rising tide of network-attached storage systems in the data center.
The company's Cypress system finds and eliminates duplicated files as it reads them, compresses what is left and keeps disks in a low power state when not needed. The result is a network-attached storage device that consumes an estimated 80 percent less power than its competitors, according to Matthew Aitkenhead, vice president of sales and marketing for Greenbytes.
Noemi Greyzdorf, a research manager at International Data Corp. (Framingham, Mass.) said the system will be welcomed by data center managers who are seeing data growth of 30 percent a year on average.
"There's huge growth in file-based unstructured data storage because businesses are being required to keep more data around longer," Greyzdorf said. "This is eating up increasing amounts of space and power in the data center."
The startup's challenge will be to get visibility for itself among entrenched vendors including EMC Corp. and NetApp. Aiming to increase its own slice of this pie, IBM Corp. rolled out a number of new storage products last week, including one system with similar abilities to reduce duplicate files.
In this market, Greenbytes should focus on a few underserved niches to build awareness, said Greyzdorf.
Greenbytes sells its software running on a SunFire 4540 system from Sun Microsystems. The Sun system packs as much as 90 Tbytes of hard disk storage and 64 Gbytes RAM in a single x86-based rack mounted computer. The startup also uses Sun's OpenSolaris operating system and a version of Sun's ZFS file system modified with Greenbytes' algorithms.
A search routine in Cypress can find and eliminate redundant files at native data read rates. It competes with a new product from IBM using technology Big Blue acquired from Diligent Technologies in April to reduce duplicate files by a ratio of 25:1.
A compression algorithm on Cypress can reduce the size of file-based storage by as much as 50 percent. Power management techniques keep related data on the same drive and reduce the amount of time disks need to spin.
Greenbytes configures the Sun system with two 32 Gbytes serial ATA flash drives as working memory for the search function. "The search algorithm requires higher I/O rates than hard drives can handle," said Aitkenhead, who would not reveal the flash drive vendor.
The system is also equipped with a CompactFlash card that contains the OpenSolaris OS. The system will be available in late September at a cost of about $89,000 for a 90 Tbyte version, or about $1/Gbyte, he added.
The startup plans to port its software to other storage systems to serve smaller branch offices as well as large petabyte-class data centers and application specific markets such virtualization appliances, said Aitkenhead
Greenbytes is a self-financed startup, formed by Americo Petrocelli, its chairman, and his two sons who serve as chief executive and technical officers. The trio formed an earlier startup, HeartLab, which designed a digital cardiac imaging system eventually sold to Agfa for $150 million.
The work at HeartLab revealed a data storage problem at hospitals that typically store digital images for years even though "after a few weeks these images were rarely accessed," said Aitkenhead. The Cypress product addresses some of the problems the founders observed while at HeartLab in a way that targets the broader market for storage.