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Storage Gets Scattered

Everybody wants more storage, from consumers to IT managers -- that's what utility computing is all about. And the trend toward storage-on-demand is throwing light on a hitherto esoteric technique called dispersed storage.

Dispersed storage describes a method of disassembling data into slices, which are then compressed, encrypted, and stored across multiple computers, disk arrays, or workstations. Only specialized client software can retrieve the data, and it can do so using fragments. If one system in the dispersal network goes down, the data can still be regenerated from the remaining parts.

While dispersed storage has been used by government labs for nearly twenty years, it's gotten wider market attention in the last few months, thanks to a company called Cleversafe Inc., whose founder, Chris Gladwin, is hoping to create a new "storage Internet" based on open-source software for use by service providers.

Gladwin, an MIT graduate, inventor, and entrepreneur with expertise in wireless thin clients, broadband audio, and other in-the-now technologies (click to see his photo below), was looking for a way to store his own media files when he decided that dispersed storage was the best way to do so reliably and securely.

Figure 1:

S. Christopher Gladwin, president, CEO, and co-founder, Cleversafe Inc.

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