Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Caringo Add Windows Direct To CAStore Enhancements

Caringo this week announced the third major version of their software only content addressable storage (CAS) product CAStor and is giving it away to users that need up to 4TB of object storage. CAStor turns just about any group of x86 systems, and their attached disk drives, into an object based storage grid, or cluster, complete with the data integrity and multiple version data retention enforcement that are the rasion d' être for CAS.

They're also giving away CloudFolder a Windows application that provides a drag and drop interface, much like a CIFS share but with HSM like zero byte files on the user's local drive, to a CAStor cluster ameliorating the problem early CAS systems like EMC's Centera have with complex APIs for storing data. CloudFolder can also be used to address CAStor cluster across the Internet for remote users or SAAS applications but is currently lacking the encryption that would be advisable for such an application.
CAStor uses HTTP as it's native interface and for those organizations that would rather use a gateway than install and maintain an application on hundreds of Windows workstations Caringo's CAStop Content File Server, which has to run on its own server(s),provides CIFS, FTP, NFS and WebDAV access to a CAStor cluster.

Rather than relying on RAID within the members CAStor protects data by storing copies of each object on multiple nodes in a cluster.  Administrators can define the number of copies to store and define sub-clusters, who's members can be on different power sources or in cross campus data centers, and require that copies be spread across multiple sub-clusters.

The members of a cluster, even those in different subclusters, need high bandwidth connectivity (Caringo recommends gigabit Ethernet) The CAStor Content Router, another set of server(s), can replicate objects between CAStor clusters with one to many and many to one architectures supported.
While other vendors have started distributing their capacity limited freebies as virtual appliances CAStor clusters have to have tightly synchronized clocks to manage the object store which isn't possible in today's virtual server environments where guest VM clocks can drift significantly as they're starved of CPU cycles so other VMs can do work.  Caringo's answer is to allow users to assign processor cores and disk drives on multi-core systems to virtual CAStor nodes so a quad core server with 12 1TB drives could emulate 4 nodes of 3TB each which they call a "Cluster in a box".

Caringo was founded by the Belgian team that sold their Filepool CAS system to EMC which morphed it into Centera. They initially positioned CAStor as a Centera competitor but are now repositioning it for more general purpose file/object storage in the nascent private cloud market where it should be more successful.