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Startup Of The Week: RevStor Offers Storage Alternative

SANware takes advantage of unused disk space on laptops, PCs, and servers to create a virtual storage network.

RevStor's SANware turns PCs and servers into a virtual storage network. Agents on each machine chop unstructured data such as documents into chunks and distribute them to available disk space across the network. Supernodes track the location of each data chunk, and agents reconstruct files when requested. --Andrew Conry-Murray


Russ Felker, founder and CEO, REVSTOR

Felker exploits existing, unused storage space

HEADQUARTERS: Schaumburg, Ill.

PRODUCT: SANware mesh storage software, nConcert grid security software, VIPFortress PC security software for executives

PRINCIPALS: Russ Felker, founder and CEO

INVESTORS: $600,000 in seed funding

EARLY CUSTOMERS: Momentum Data Services, Kelaico Consulting

SANware lets companies take advantage of unused disk space on laptops, PCs, and servers, as an alternative to investing in a dedicated system such as network-attached storage or a storage area network. Agents installed on each machine back up data by dividing it into smaller pieces, encrypting it, and saving it to unused space.

SANware requires that an agent be installed on each computer in the storage network. RevStor recommends that 4 GB of free space be available on a PC or server to be included in a SANware installation. The agents divide, encrypt, and distribute data. Administrators can configure agents to copy data chunks up to 20 times to provide redundancy. No more than 33% of a single file is ever stored on one computer. Supernodes maintain the file system to track the locations of all data stored.

Seanodes, a French company, offers a product that works on a similar principle as SANware. Cleversafe, another startup, disperses data across multiple machines as well, but requires its own hardware.

CEO Felker says SANware is more secure and less expensive than conventional storage systems. On the security front, data is sliced up and distributed throughout the network, which means thieves would have to steal multiple hard drives to reconstruct a single file. The software encrypts each data slice using the 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard, further reducing risk of exposure. RevStor charges $2,500 per terabyte of stored data, maximizing a company's existing investment in disk space.

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