Open Source Cloud Storage Billows

Apr 14, 2009

Sean Michael Kerner

To get seven copies of a particular piece of content distributed online, typically it has required a network to have seven physical copies of the data. But what if you could have seven copies available while having less than two copies' worth of data on the network?

That's been the promise of open source storage vendor Cleversafe, which this week is unveiling new technology to further streamline delivery―and potentially improving the process of making content available at massive scale.

Cleversafe claims its distributed delivery solution decreases storage requirements while improving availability. With its new smart client feature, the company said its technology gets even faster and more efficient, and it can take its dispersed storage network technology to the cloud―an approach that could have profound impact on content delivery networks, theoretically providing availability of content at a scale that is not possible today.

"We’ve been building this dispersed storage technology for 4.5 years, and what's happening now is this big interest in cloud computing creates interest in cloud storage," Cleversafe CEO Chris Gladwin told "It has certain characteristics, massive scalability, virtualization of resources and location with limitless reliability."

Cleversafe first emerged out of stealth mode in October 2007 with its Dispersed Storage Network (dsNet) technology. dsNet takes slices of data and distributes them across multiple nodes. Users are able to specify how many locations the data will be sliced across and how many active nodes a downloader would need in order to recreate the data.

In its new release, Cleversafe is now adding a new layer to the dsNet experience: the smart client, which will determine at the client side the location from which to pull data to ensure downloaders the best possible performance.

"Dispersal has properties that enable it to revolutionize content delivery," Gladwin said. "Instead of just storing a copy of the data, we mathematically transform the data into new numbers and you can store a virtual copy of the data that is comprised of many small slices."

Those small slices require only a faction of the storage typically needed to host a number of identical copies under traditional distribution systems. Gladwin noted that the total storage required by slices is typically only 1.1 to 1.6x times the data a user started with.

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Tags: open source, virtualization,

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