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The Value of Buzzwords

Do industry buzzwords make a difference? Your marketing department will tell you they make a great difference and that using the right buzzwords can get you in the door to talk to a potential customer. But when it comes to buying technology, do the right buzzwords make you more inclined to listen? Do the words "private storage clouds" make you want to hear more?

I ask this question after talking to ParaScale, a California startup that will soon come out of stealth mode and offer software to enterprises and service providers to create "private storage clouds" of Tier 2 storage that run on commodity Linux servers and an IP network. A year ago, ParaScale might have described itself as a storage virtualization vendor, since it creates an object file system that aggregates all the disks underneath or inside the servers and presents it all as a single file-serving box.

ParaScale's main selling point is cost. By using commodity servers and Linux, ParaScale says you can build a 6 TB storage cloud on four servers for around $12,000. ParaScale charges around $1,050 per terabyte for its software. The overall cost is half or less than a conventional enterprise storage system, the company says. A free trial version is available for those with smaller storage needs. For large companies, a 1 PB storage cloud will cost under $1 million.

Did ParaScale decide to go with the "cloud" buzzword because clouds are the hottest thing in IT today, with every vendor and his brother offering some type of cloud computing or cloud storage or cloud application service? Nope, says CEO Sajai Krishnan. ParaScale is not your typical storage virtualization vendor.

"Most storage virtualization is like a traffic cop sitting on top of other NAS boxes, and it lets you easily migrate data from one box to another box. They ensure that the app server that was pointing to box one is now pointing to box five," he says, adding that those types of systems can't scale to hundreds of boxes.

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