ParaScale: Scalable Software For Cloud-based Storage


ParaScale, a developer of software designed to give customers scalable on-site and cloud backup and recovery, this week unveiled its ParaScale Cloud Storage software.

The software allows hundreds of commodity Linux-based servers to be clustered together to form a massive file repository, said Sajai Krishnan, president of the Cupertino, Calif.-based storage vendor.

With the ParaScale Cloud Storage software, customers can make a mass of commodity servers look like a single storage box for use as an internal or an external storage cloud, Krishnan said.

"It's a shrink-wrapped cloud storage offering," he said.

Customers can mix and match any vendors' server appliances as long as they run Red Hat Enterprise 5.2 or CentOS 5.2 Linux, Krishnan said.

Because it scales both in terms of capacity and performance as additional servers are added in, ParaScale is suitable for customers large and small.

Existing customers include the Stanford Genome Technology Center, where 2 TB to 15 TB of data are added each week, and Sony Pictures ImageWorks, where storage scales out as multiple replications of a video are saved only to have it all flushed out 60 days after a project is complete, he said.

That scalability is what attracted Condor Storage, a Sedona, Ariz.-based solution provider, to sign with ParaScale.

Customers like the complete redundancy of being able to keep at least three copies of data available, including one copy in a storage cloud of some sort, said Jeanne Wilson, president of Condor Storage.

"Plus it scales to whatever," Wilson said. "You can't do that with other products. It's a very viable solution. Cloud computing is starting to get adopted by customers."

The ParaScale solution is cost effective, Wilson said. Condor Storage is adding the ParaScale software to nearly all of its RAID arrays, and is hosting it on the internal storage of servers from vendors such as Supermicro.

"Since customers have multiple copies of their data, they don't need dual RAID controllers, so that cuts costs dramatically," she said.

Because of ParaScale Cloud Storage software's ability to cluster multiple commodity servers, it offers solution providers an opportunity to sell services to customers they may not have been able to work with in the past, Krishnan said.

Service providers also can use the software to build a mini-cloud computing infrastructure for customers who prefer to use multitenant infrastructures, he said.

ParaScale is also talking to a number of data backup service providers to certify their software with that of ParaScale in order to help them offer a scalable backup infrastructure to customers, Krishnan said. One such service provider, Vembu Technologies, Chennai, India, already has done so, he said.

The software is priced according to storage capacity. In order to help seed the market, a full version of ParaScale's software with a limit of 4 TB of capacity is available free of charge, Krishnan said. The list price for customers with more than 4 TB of data is $250 per TB.

That price includes a single license for a control node to manage the storage cluster. For high availability, a second node license costing $250 is required.