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Say what you will about the media: Startup Archivas Inc. owes its life to a newspaper.

The Waltham, Mass., startup's founder, Andres Rodriguez, was CTO of The New York Times when he learned that all the news thats fit to print© was tough to fit into a digital archive.

"Nothing was adequate,” he says of technology tools available at the time. “We wanted to do a midrange level 5 RAID, but it was too expensive, so we outsourced it to ProQuest [a service provider that stores digital content]. That means we lost real access to our own data.”

Rodriguez was fed up enough to take action. He assembled a team of engineers and came up with his own solution: an object-based file system for digital content. The Archivas system stores and retrieves files and metadata as objects rather than files. Users write policies for retention, authentication, data shredding, and protection to meet compliance standards, based on the metadata.

Now Archivas's product is in beta at several sites, including NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Goddard is using the software to store atmospheric data retrieved from satellites. Archivas's finished product is set to ship in September.

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