Feeds

Startup offers penalty-free file data reduction

Magic from Swiss gnomes

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Swiss startup balesio, staffed by all of nine people, has devised a penalty-free way of reducing unstructured data file sizes without altering the original file format, meaning no rehydration or decompression is needed to read the reduced size files.

Its Native File Optimisation (NFO) software technology analyses unstructured data files and restores their contents in a visually lossless manner with a smaller file size. The optimised and reduced files can still be read by their originating applications, such as Windows PowerPoint, SharePoint and Excel.

This approach is very much like that of the Dell-acquired Ocarina, which optimised and reduced the size of various image formats in a visually lossless manner but requiring an Ocarina reader to read the optimised files.

Christoph Schmid, balesio's chief operating officer and sales VP, says Ocarina started with image optimisation and then moved into unstructured files, whereas balesio started with Microsoft format unstructured data files – now including PowerPoint, Excel and SharePoint – and has progressed into PDFs and various image formats.

Schmid says balesio's NFO software can recover 50 to 95 per cent of an unstructured file's disk capacity by storing its contents more efficiently. For example, repeated elements on a PowerPoint deck, such as logos, need only be stored once. Imported image files often have colour and resolution attributes that can be scaled back, reducing the image's file size without compromising its visual integrity for the human eye.

The company produces various FILEminimizer software applications, which can be run on PCs and servers to reduce file sizes. Developers have access to a SDK. The company started up in 2006 providing eLearning products, and then looked for ways to reduce the size of the files involved. Balesio focused on this application, became incorporated in 2008 and has has shipped – wait for it – more than 4.5 million copies of its FILEminimizer software. It claims up to 2,000 large accounts are using multiple copies of its applications. The majority are in Europe with some in Japan and America, and include General Electric, Lafarge, and Hyundai. Word of mouth has been responsible, Schmid says, for multiple purchases within balesio's customers.

As a consequence of this sales volume, balesio is entirely self-funded and profitable – it is a venture-capital-free zone.

Balesio's claims are that its technology is highly efficient, completely open and has a one-shot approach, optimising and reducing a file once and forever, with no lock-in to a balesio reader. It says it optimises primary file data.

We asked how efficient it was compared to NetApp's A-SIS deduplication. Schmid said that, according to reports, A-SIS can return 60 per cent dedupe ratios for VMware virtual machine files but only 5 to 10 per cent for general unstructured data files.

We can intuitively conceive that A-SIS, as a block-level deduplication technology, is not file-content-aware as balesio is. Schmid sums up the NetApp balesio optimisation efficiency comparison like this:

Taking a "classic" primary storage share with 75-80 per cent unstructured files, we can achieve a data reduction of 50-85 per cent of that, compared to the 5-10 per cent that NetApp A-SIS is doing. Even if the remaining 20 per cent could be massively deduped by Netapp, I believe it would not achieve our level of realised storage space savings.

We note balesio optimises within a file, without looking for or finding redundancies across several files or across multiple balesio instances. This is an intrinsic feature of the product as it optimises the way an application stores data and removes redundant information within a file, rather than looking for repeating patterns of data within a data stream as simple compression does, or repeating patterns of information across multiple files or block groups, as deduplication technology does.

The company says it can flatten the fate of unstructured data growth in storage capacity terms and does so, it appears, better than any other supplier. It says that it actually helps performance, instead of hindering it, because smaller files are quicker to load, faster to back up, and consume fewer network resources when sent between computers, either in or between data centres or from a data centre to a hosting centre or the the cloud.

There are free trial offers of up to 12 optimisations on balesio's website. A single user FILEminimizer Office licence costs £34.95 and multi-user licence costs have volume discount curves. It seems worth a trial at least to see if you can turn your giant unstructured data files into reduced gnomic Swiss instances of their former selves. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
SanDisk vows: We'll have a 16TB SSD WHOPPER by 2016
Flash WORM has a serious use for archived photos and videos
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Managing SSL certificates with ease
The lack of operational efficiencies and compliance pitfalls associated with poor SSL certificate management, and how the right SSL certificate management tool can help.