Maybe a Milestone

Cleversafe's project gathers momentum

February 21, 2007

2 Min Read
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1:00 PM -- A company whose geeky founder purports to start a "storage Internet" has opened its test grid to interested hosting firms.

Cleversafe, founded by Chris Gladwin, has specialized up to now in offering software for free to anyone looking to fool around with the concept of dispersed storage at home, in their spare time. The firm claims at least 6,000 downloads. (See Storage Gets Scattered and Cleversafe Announces Program.)

Dispersed storage, a longtime "science project" for government research labs, is a method of disassembling data into slices, which are retrieved by specialized client software capable of regenerating an entire data set from dispersed parts.

Now, Cleversafe's bidding for broader adoption of its technology. The startup has signed up 11 partners for its new Dispersed Storage Provider (DSP) Foundation Partner Program, in which companies will help develop and build out Cleversafe's dispersed storage grid.

DSP is Cleversafe's term, meant to call to mind the ISPs of years gone by. That's because Gladwin sees his mission as starting a grid network based on dispersed storage, which hosters can sell to enterprise customers."Internet 2 went through a period of testing," Gladwin states. "This shows the power of the Internet business model, in which you buy from one provider but have access to everything."

Neither the partners nor Cleversafe are making public the terms of their development arrangements. But at least two DSPs, The Planet Internet Services and ViUX Hosting, plan to make Cleversafe's grid part of their future services.

"ViUX Hosting is interested in the Cleversafe DSP Foundation Partner Program because of the security, reliability and cost-effectiveness of this particular storage approach, in contrast to the current tape and disk-based storage systems that we now use to backup our servers," said Jonathan Smith, ViUX's president, in a prepared statement.

Will it work? The jury's still out. Much depends of course on price and just how well the new network actually functions, and on whether hosters are going to trust it with their traffic. And judging by the slow adoption of grid technologies in general, that could take awhile. (See To Grid or Not to Grid.)

Still, if Cleversafe succeeds, even in part, the results could be surprising, particularly given the interest of Google, Microsoft, and other major players in large-scale storage technologies. We're keeping an eye on this one.Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch

  • Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)

  • Microsoft Corp.

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