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Caringo Offers Green Update

Caringo Inc. has announced a new version of its software-based object storage platform that provides additional features and helps users save energy. CAStor 4.0 includes a feature called Darkive that lets administrators specify an archival tier on the storage devices, meaning disks and processors are spun down to reduce CPU utilization to specified levels, only spinning that storage up when data needs to be recalled from the archive. Other new features include the ability to append content to a pre-existing object, update metadata about existing objects and modify the retention period of data that might otherwise be routinely deleted.

Rick Terrell, vice president of engineering for Yap Inc., an automated voice mail transcription service, says he is particularly interested in the ability to change metadata without having to read the object out and write it back in again. "The ability to append to an object is something we'll do a lot," he says. "Right now, we have to keep track of a lot of small pieces of data. They may be related, but they show up at different times, so they go in as different objects. We would like them to be one object in the data store."

The update, which is free to Caringo's approximately 400 existing users, will be available on May 14. Other enhancements include a new version of the Content Router software, which lets users create content distribution networks for disaster recovery and data distribution based on metadata. Content Router 2.0 eliminates the database where the content distribution network information used to be stored, and instead stores it in CAStor itself, improving performance, according to Mark Goros, CEO of the Austin, Texas, company. In addition, the software now uses the MD5 hash algorithm to validate that data is free from corruption. While the new features may not seem very exciting on the surface, they
are very important. "Append will be useful for applications such as
medical records that require updating, and immutability override for
managing legal holds in electronic discovery," says David Hill,
principal for Mesabi Group LLC.

CAStor 4.0 also includes features that make it easier to manage, as well, such as allowing administrators to suspend volume recovery efforts during a network outage, flashing the drive light to help administrators find a faulty drive and support for hardware monitoring systems such as IPMI, which provides data for temperature and health for the cluster. There are also SMART disk drives to detect and report on reliability indicators, so users can anticipate and prevent failures.

In addition, the company is now producing a software developers' kit that will make it easier to integrate CAStor with other vendors' products. "The company's primary limitation is that of being a small vendor in a tough market, as well as by having a vendor-specific API rather than by being standards-based, but Caringo appears to be getting traction on the partner front, particularly with the new SDK," says Terri McClure, senior analyst for the Enterprise Strategy Group Inc.