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Permabit Steps on the CAS

Startup Permabit Inc. is trying to execute a tricky bit of marketing jujitsu: First, it's stealing a term coined by EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) -- content-addressed storage -- and then it's turning around and saying it can do CAS better than EMC.

The Cambridge, Mass., startup this week launched Permeon, a storage system that uses a proprietary object-based file system written in Java that's designed to store huge amounts of fixed content. To applications accessing the storage, Permeon looks like a standard Network File System (NFS) server (see Permabit Launches, Names CEO).

"Our intent is to set a new standard for content addressed storage and make it more broadly used in the industry," says COO Rich Vito.

When an application (or user) writes a file to a folder located on a Permeon server, the system performs a hash so that redundant information is stored only once. It also performs some file coalescence, breaking the file into smaller chunks. [Ed. note: Permabit's Permeon, by the way, should be not confused with the artificial rock varnish of the same name.]

The product is delivered as a 1U-high PC server with four 200-Gbyte ATA drives. Permabit says the servers can be clustered together to provide up to 40 Tbytes of storage. Vito claims there's nothing preventing it from supporting the Windows-based Common Internet File System (CIFS) protocol, and at some point Permabit may add that capability.

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