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Ocarina Expands Its ECOsystem Licensing

In a move that could make its ECOsystem data reduction technology more widely available later this year, Ocarina Networks has announced a software-only version, ECOsystem for OEMs, that is available for license by other vendors, though no specific licensees were named. ECOsystem uses a variety of techniques to reduce data that can't normally be compressed or deduplicated to as little as one-tenth of its original size, either in-band, post-process or hybrid. The company currently is  in development on six products across its OEM relationships. The point-to-point technology works on multiple kinds of storage, including server-based storage, block storage arrays, network-attached storage, object storage, cloud and backup, with APIs and SDKs available for each type.

Dell Computer Inc. executive Praveen Asthana, vice president of Dell Enterprise Solutions and Strategy, praised the technology in an Ocarina press release. While such quotes are usually paired with licensing announcements, no such agreements have been announced. Mike Davis, Ocarina director of marketing, says Ocarina has been Dell's "dedupe partner" and would be adding dedupe to storage arrays and file servers. Dell did not make any announcements, and a Dell spokesman says the company would not comment further.

Licensing of OEM technology could be useful in conjunction with cloud file computing such as the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), says Lee Watkins, director of bioinformatics at Johns Hopkins University. The institution currently uses Ocarina products to compress the amount of data it obtains from its experiments on the human genome, some of which are in the terabyte range. The files the experiments produce can't be compressed with typical deduplication technology, he says. "We don't have a gazillion e-mail files," he says. "The data is completely unique, so it doesn't dedupe."

Users can't typically detect any lag caused by decompressing the file when they look at it, and the 40 to 50 percent compression the institution is seeing saves a lot of time moving data around the network. Watkins hopes that, as with Adobe Acrobat, companies will release a free reader that would let anyone make use of a file compressed with the Ocarina technology. Organizations that use the Ocarina technology are typically ones that produce large files, such as life sciences, film production, and large archives, Davis says.

Ocarina is doing the right thing by making its technology available as software only for OEMs, says Noemi Greyzdorf, research manager at IDC. Few other vendors do this type of optimization, and making this technology available to users will raise awareness of the benefits of compression technology.