Storigen: Echoes of Akamai

Storigen plans to put storage at the edge of the network to spread resources and speed data delivery

July 6, 2001

3 Min Read
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Storigen Systems, a startup in Lowell, Mass., plans to shake up storage paradigms by putting storage devices at the edge of the network, according to Byte and Switch sources.

Storigen's formula is similar to that ofAkamai Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: AKAM), which speeds up the delivery of Web content by keeping it in caching appliances closer to the user. Storigen intends to put intelligent storage appliances in the same spots, to speed up the delivery of data across the network. The question is: Can Storigen cash in on a cache-like approach to networked storage services?

Service providers offering managed storage services today would traditionally house storage equipment in large data centers and dole out the storage resources from there.

In the Storigen model, storage is springled more liberally throughout the network, creating something like storage points-of-presence (POPs). This puts the equipment geographically closer to the user to deliver an order of magnitude improvement in performance, scalability, and quality of service,” the company claims.

Storigen plans to sell the devices to SSPs (storage service providers), claiming it will help them administer storage more easily, thereby cutting costs. Virtualization software on the appliance is expected to play a key role, but exactly how Storigen will employ it isn't clear yet, nor whether that idea will fly with eventual customers.Chris Baldwin, a partner at Charles River Ventures, an investor in the company, was able to shed some more light on Storigen's plans.

“Think about libraries and why we have local libraries as well as national libraries, from the standpoint of getting the book and having time to read it,” he says. “Akamai fired the first salvo by moving content out to the edge, but it also needs to be stored here. This will require smart, cost-effective devices; not big, dumb EMC Corp. [NYSE: EMC] storage, and this is what Storigen is working on.”

The idea has gelled with several top-notch VCs including Battery Ventures, Charles River Ventures, and OneLiberty Ventures , which collectively came up with a first round of $9 million in funding last September.

Storigen's founders all hail from Avid Technology (Nasdaq: AVID), where they helped create a successful digital editing and streaming video company.

Rick Gillet, the CTO of Storigen, was a Corporate Fellow at Avid, where he co-defined and drove the strategy for Avid’s shared storage architecture. He has over 20 years experience in storage and network engineering, 17 years of it spent at DEC climbing to CTO for DEC’s Alpha server division.Storigen’s VP of engineering, John Ywoskus, was director of engineering at Avid, while Dennis Hoffman, VP of marketing, was previously in charge of strategy and business development at Avid.

Could Storigen be the next Akamai? Good question. The economy is much tougher for startups now -- VCs are retrenching, and the IPO market is almost nonexistant.

Still, Gartner/Dataquest has high expectations for the Internet appliance market. It predicts a compound annual growth rate of more than 50 percent, reaching a worldwide market size of about $14 billion by 2004.

So if Storigen delivers solid product, and its technology model helps SSPs deliver better storage services to customers at a lower cost, it could be a company to watch.

— Jo Maitland, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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