EMC has unveiled a storage architecture known as CAS (Content Addressed Storage), which is aimed at speeding delivery of large files from databases.
The technology, which is based on a storage server called Centera, deploys the use of system tags - commonly referred to as reference files - to embed the likes of medical X-rays, check images, and video clips with a "digital fingerprint," making it easier for a Centera storage server to retrieve them.
CAS technology and the Centera server platform ensure that EMC can take advantage of what analysts predict will be a booming market for the storage of unchanging "reference" data.
"It's a whole new ball game, and the market opportunity is huge," said Steve Duplessie, a senior analyst at Enterprise Storage Group.
CAS and Centera draw on the strengths of NAS (network-attached storage) that use Ethernet networks to serve files directly to applications.
A number of unique NAS-style start-ups, such as Zambeel, have appeared with similar technology, and companies such as Digital Fountain and Interwoven have, respectively, delivered reference data servers and data-tagging tools. But EMC's CAS architecture requires application vendors to write APIs to Centera.
"[Centera] doesn't provide a file system, and it's not a database engine - you don't deal with it with SQL, you actually write software to it using an API over an IP network," said Barry Burke, director of integrated solutions for networked storage platforms at EMC.
EMC reports that 32 rackable Centera storage servers fit within a 6-foot rack, and the system scales in clusters to more than 1120TB.
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