Storage Soup

Feb 9 2009   8:51PM GMT

Cleversafe powers up ‘Storage Internet’ service

Beth Pariseau Beth Pariseau Profile: Beth Pariseau

Startup Cleversafe Inc. is preparing to launch a new online storage service based on its dsNet product, with data centers on each of the three major power grids in the U.S.

Since coming out of stealth two years ago, Cleversafe’s goal has been to deliver dsNet as a service. So far, the company has sold a few systems to service providers in the company’s home area of Chicago, but it has yet to realize its original vision of a “Storage Internet” in which data is distributed geographically.

The new service is currently in beta testing and four data center locations have been built out, three in Chicago and one in Omaha, Nebraska. By the end of March, Cleversafe officials say they expect to double that number of data centers and extend the dsNet service across U.S. power grids in the West, East and Texas interconnect. Each power grid will have two data centers, and each data center would utilize multiple internet service providers for redundancy.

Cleversafe’s SliceStor storage nodes can break up a single file into up to 11 pieces for redundancy. The Cleversafe hash appended to each slice for reconstruction also provides built-in encryption. The company is selling dsNet systems into end user and service provider accounts with customizable fault tolerance, but the dsNet service would have 8-6 or 8-5 redundancy, meaning eight slices across each data center with either five or six nodes required to reconstruct files.

dsNet might eventually be able to act as a content delivery network (CDN) as well as a storage service, according to director of customer solutions Alan Holmes, so that files can be delivered without requiring a separate Accesser node or client, as is required today. “We have a technology differentiator already built in to dsNet,” Holmes said. “Because of the way we reconstruct files, we already query the network for the nearest server many times per second.”

The Museum of Broadcast Communications (MBC) is an early adopter of the service, thanks to a chance online connection between the museum’s website and Cleversafe founder Chris Gladwin. The museum, also a brick-and-mortar institution in Chicago since the late 1980′s, was struggling to host digital files for download on its website, and sent out a letter to members announcing the discontinuation of that service two years ago. Gladwin received that notification, according to MBC founder and president Bruce DuMont, and got in contact with the museum to offer the dsNet service.

Neither DuMont or Cleversafe would disclose the specific financial details of Cleversafe’s relationship with MBC, but DuMont said MBC had agreed to partner with Cleversafe for its online content distribution for 10 years. “Right now, we’re in year two,” he said.

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