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A startup with roots in one of today's best-selling content addressable storage (CAS) systems has emerged with a proposition for cheaper, more flexible CAS.

Caringo has come out of a well-publicized stealth stint to announce CAStor, a USB memory stick equipped with CAS software for use in x86-based PCs.

Caringo's founder is Paul Carpentier, the Belgium-based technologist whose patents were sold to EMC with a company called FilePool in April 2001. Subsequently, EMC used the FilePool technology in Centera. Carpentier is joined at Caringo by Jonathan Ring, president, and Mark Goros, CEO, who both have experience in technology investing.

CAStor's claim to fame, the execs say, is that it offers a way to set up CAS on secure clustered SATA-based hardware, without requiring a specific vendor's platform, as does EMC's Centera and most other CAS wares on offer today. (See CAS Conundrum and CAS at a Crossroads.) Caringo's founders anticipate that ISVs and integrators will be able to set up and sell telecom, medical imaging, and surveillance applications, among others, at considerable discounts compared with other CAS products.

The downside? There will be some integration needed. The question is whether the effort will compare favorably with products from EMC, Archivas, Bycast, Nexsan, Permabit, Sun, and Symantec/Veritas, which have emerged in the last couple of years -- and for which integration is largely built in by the vendor.

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