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Data slicer cuts itself off from hardware

Cleversafe serves up software-only licenses

Security for virtualized datacentres

Cleversafe has untied the knot between its data protection hardware and software with a set of software-only licenses for customers wanting to use third-party hardware.

The company's products cut data into slices, using an Accessor server, and distributes them across many dsNet servers or Slicestors in a scheme which can have up to six Slicestors fail from a set of 16 before data is lost. It's said to be more cost-effective than a RAID-and-replication combination, have more data availability than four replicated copies and scale to huge capacity levels.

Cleversafe is selling this to cloud service providers and enterprises. Its latest v2.1 software release adds a few bells and whistles like APIS to connect billing and CRM systems to the dsNet but also makes the dsNet software available on its own.

The company isn't saying it wants to stop selling hardware, but it's interesting that this happens a day after Sepaton says its roadmap includes turning its data protection system into a virtual appliance with a network link to storage that could be in the cloud. There is a lot to be said for a software and hardware company becoming software company; it has a far smaller operation to manage, and software margins are way higher than hardware ones based on commodity components.

This can be seen as part of a trend in which general and niche application storage arrays move first to having Intel controller processors and then, secondly, to the controller software running in connected servers instead of embedded controllers. In a third hollowing-out of the storage company, the software then runs as a virtual machine in a virtualised server and severs all direct links with hardware completely.

Cleversafe software street prices include the Accesser 2.1, with a per-CPU socket costing $4,200, Slicestor 2.1 storage nodes with per spindle pricing; a 4-spindle license costing $3,800 and a 12-spindle one $10,200, and the Manager 2.1 management system costing $7,000 per CPU socket. ®

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