Storage Soup

Apr 29 2008   1:07PM GMT

Inside PiWorx

Beth Pariseau Beth Pariseau Profile: Beth Pariseau

Until now, all we’ve known about Pi Corp., the startup EMC purchased in February, were that it was still in stealth, and that its software was meant to provide access to content on multiple types of Web-enabled devices.

While that description makes sense, it also is vague enough to leave open the possibility of several different directions that type of technology could go in. I had imagined it transcoding things like movies and music for streaming delivery to iPhones as well as PCs, for example, or reformatting Word documents to be read on both laptops and Blackberries by corporate mobile workers.

But a little more information has come out about Pi since the acquisition, at PiWorx.com. You can download a product demo, which unfortunately my system specs on my standard-issue laptop don’t support, but there’s also a walk-through of the software’s features and screenshots.

What it reminds me of most is Flickr — except with music, documents and other content types. Rather than making a “photostream,” it looks like it can create multimedia personal sites or collections for sharing that bring together those different types of content.

It also looks like the product would offer services like those available with network-enabled external hard drives for consumers that allow content to be accessed from the Web, but on a much bigger scale. Those external devices allow access to every piece of data in the repository to the owner of the password/admin rights for the system. This would let people share content selectively with more complex authentication.

So, let’s just say you’re a news writer at a storage conference and you need to see that PowerPoint from last week, but you’re in the middle of the show floor and your laptop’s upstairs. Let’s also say you don’t own an iPhone or PDA. The idea behind PiWorx, if I’m understanding correctly, is that you could go to one of the stations set up for people to check their Webmail, log in and call up the PowerPoint online.

I still wonder if this software will be sold to corporations for internal use as well as deployed as part of EMC’s Fortress?  Despite an emphatic PiWorx message about data security, I still think storage admins would be more keen to use this type of thing if the content delivery networks and storage repositories were their own, and access to the information was limited to the employees or authorized partners of the company.

Then again, I’m not a storage admin. Any thoughts from those in the peanut gallery?

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