Amplidata Intros Massively Scalable Storage

AmpliStor is an object storage system for storing unstructured data, particularly large files such as video, said Paul Speciale, vice president of products for the Redwood City, Calif.-based vendor.

"Our target is storing unstructured data, large media objects averaging 1 MB or more in size, and storing millions to billions of objects," Speciale said. "AmpliStor is also targeting on-line applications, media-oriented SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), and storage clouds."

AmpliStor eliminates the need for RAID and storage replication, which Speciale said are not suited to handling massive amounts of data.

RAID technology starts failing with large data sets and ever-larger hard drives, he said. "RAID rebuilds failed hard drives, but can take a day or two to rebuild a 2-TB drive," he said. "That's a long time to increase the opportunity for further failures."

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Storage replication works to protect data, but often requires customers to keep two or three copies of data, Speciale said. "We're getting to the point where the power and the cost of that extra capacity is too expensive," he said.

AmpliStor overcomes these problems to provide massive storage capabilities via a number of proprietary technologies the company has developed, Speciale said.

The first is BitSpread, a technology which replaces RAID by encoding the data and spreading the data over a multiple hard drives which can withstand multiple failures.

Speciale said the typical configuration using BitSpread is to spread data over 16 drives and allow up to four of them to fail before access becomes an issue. The number of drives per data set and the number which can fail can be set by the customer, he said.

The 16:4 ratio is equal to 10 nines of reliability, or 99.99999999-percent uptime, Speciale said. "That's about 1 million years between data loss events, based on the statistical analysis of errors," he said.

The other primary technology is the BitDynamics Agent, which sits on AmpliStor storage nodes to monitor data and disk drives to look for problem and provide self-healing, he said.

To implement AmpliStor, Amplidata provides customers with 1U storage nodes. The nodes, which use the Intel Atom processor to reduce power consumption to about 7 Watts per TB of data, include 10 2-TB, low-power hard drives and two Gbit Ethernet connectors.

For every four storage nodes, customers will need to purchase an AmpliStor controller node. Multiple AmpliStor controller nodes can be connected into a system which allows processing power to expand along with capacity, Speciale said.

Amplidata is relatively new in the U.S., and only has a handful of customers and channel partners, Speciale said. However, its worldwide headquarters in Belgium already counts several government bodies as customers, he said.

The company also provides its BitSpread technology on an OEM basis. One customer is Warrendale, Pa.-based Zenith Infotech, which uses BitSpread in its SmartStyle cloud storage offering, Speciale said.

Amplidata is currently recruiting solution providers in the digital management or archiving markets or who work with scale-up application, Speciale said. It would eventually like to see over 50 percent of its business go through such channel partners, he said.