Nexsan Targets Compliance With Acquisition

Montreal, Quebec-based Evertrust, in stealth mode since its founding in 2000, has been developing software aimed at storage vendors looking to add compliance capabilities to their arrays.

Woodland Hills, Calif.-based Nexsan, best known for its ATA- and SATA-based arrays, including the ATAboy and ATAbeast, acquired Evertrust for an undisclosed sum. Both are private companies.

Evertrust's AEStore is a software solution to address the retention requirements, management and deletion of electronic records regardless of storage platform or media.

With AEStore, a file or document to be stored is first scanned to create a metadata record using XML, called an AEStamp, based on the file name, original source, size of file, date created and last modified and cryptographic fingerprints using two hashing schemes, MD5 and SHA-1. That metadata stamp also includes information such as copyright, security level, retention policy rule and other data to create a unique serial number for the file or document, Evertrust executives said.

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With the AEStamp, a file or document cannot be changed without authorization, and an audit trail can be produced for compliance purposes, the executives said.

Diamond Lauffin, senior executive vice president of Nexsan, said the Evertrust software is complementary to his company's plans to develop appliances that approach the content-addressable storage and information life-cycle management markets currently served by such products as EMC's Centera and HP's Reference Information Storage System (RISS).

Such appliances would be based initially on the company's ATAbeast platform, he said.

"We think that it's very important to have an owned solution ... rather than a hardware-software solution for long-term data," Lauffin said.

Michael Fanelli, western regional manager of SSI hubcity, a Metuchen, N.J.-based solution provider that has worked with Nexsan for over four years, said Nexsan's ATAbeast is a good platform on which to build an compliance appliance because of its reliability and easy setup and operation.

Fanelli also agreed on the importance of getting compliance solutions developed by a single vendor. "Outstanding," he said. "Now we can have a solution instead of cobbled-together hardware and software. If Nexsan can make an appliance that deals with compliance, it's nothing but great news."

That's the plan, Lauffin said. Evertrust is about 30 to 60 days from bringing its software to market, with a couple of possible OEM deals on the way. He said he expects Nexsan can come out with the first version of a compliance appliance in about 60 to 90 days, with other versions covering different parts of the compliance market to follow.

While Nexsan is relatively tiny compared with such competitors as EMC, HP and IBM, the company's customer list includes 24 of the 50 largest companies worldwide, Lauffin said.

EMC didn't seem to mind the new competition. Roy Sanford, vice president of content addressed storage at EMC, said the vendor has shipped 30 petabyes of its Centera product to more than 1,200 customers. "The market for fixed content continues to grow," he said in statement issued in response the acquisition.

Nexsan does not sell any of its products direct to corporate users, he said.