Cleversafe Enhances Storage Service; Wins CIA Funding

Cleversafe announced a new version of its Cleversafe cloud storage platform with three key improvements in thin provisioning, secure transport, and disk balancing. Cleversafe Monday announced a strategic investment and development agreement with In-Q-Tel, a private, not-for-profit company launched by the Central Intelligence Agency in 1999 to identify and develop cutting-edge technology used for intelligence purposes.

October 26, 2010

3 Min Read
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Cleversafe announced a new version of its Cleversafe cloud storage platform with three key improvements in thin provisioning, secure transport, and disk balancing. Cleversafe Monday announced a strategic investment and development agreement with In-Q-Tel, a private, not-for-profit company launched by the Central Intelligence Agency in 1999 to identify and develop cutting-edge technology used for intelligence purposes.

Cleversafe added new features to version 2.3 of its cloud storage platform, including thin provisioning, which lets storage administrators dole out smaller portions of storage capacity within an organization to better manage the overall storage pool. Version 2.3 also includes secure network connections between two components of the storage platform: the Accesser, which creates the data slices and later recombines them; and the Slicestor node, where each of the slices are stored. The upgrade also adds disk balancing, which equalizes capacity across the storage drives within a storage appliance for better capacity utilization.

The technology is suited for the rich content and unstructured data market, which is beginning to dominate storage in terms of the capacity needed, Rick Villars, a storage analyst at IDC, added. Starting in 2009, storage of video, medical images, e-mail and other files not contained in databases became the majority of new capacity demand and will approach 80 percent by 2014. While Cleversafes's roots are in intelligence gathering, new demand will come from private enterprises.

Information dispersal eliminates the need for replication, which is a time consuming, resource consuming and expensive task. Replication also increases the risk of a security breach because there is that much more data at risk of exposure.

"Industries such as media, entertainment, health care and video surveillance are basically going 100 percent digital and they are going to need large, effective archival storage solutions like those Cleversafe is designing," Villars said.Cleversafe information dispersal involves creating multiple "slices" of data and distributing them to storage nodes in multiple data centers, explained Julie Bellanca, director of marketing for Cleversafe. Even if someone gained unauthorized access to any of the storage nodes, the slices would be unrecognizable as data, she said. The technology uses unique mathematical algorithms that encrypt each slice and only when the slices are recombined is the data again recognizable.

Cleversafe's information dispersal also increases the chances of recovering data that is lost or corrupted. Bellanca analogized the algorithms to multiple mathematical formulas one might encounter in a high school math class. If you have 16 equations with 10 unknowns among them, as long as you have 10 of those equations, then you can identify the 10 variables to get the solution. By comparison, if you have data stored in 16 slices in various locations, if some data centers go down and you can only retrieve 10 slices, you still have your data. "Because we fundamentally transform the data into equations that can help you recreate the data, if there's a hardware breach, there's no data loss exposure," she said.

Bellanca claims information dispersal is also more effective and efficient than the widely used redundant array of independent disks (RAID) storage technology because in an era of 2 terabyte (TB) disk drives and petabyte-size storage systems, "RAID is not going to cut it."

Villars concurs: "RAID is a very limited form of data dispersal. It happens to be limited to disks in a single system and isn't particularly flexible."

Cleversafe did not reveal the amount of the financial investment it received from In-Q-Tel.

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