A start-up called Pivot3 is the latest entry into the network storage market, coming out with in IP-based cluster that uses block-level virtualization in a low-cost, highly scalable solution.
The company's RAIGET (RAID Across Independent Gigabit Ethernet) system does away with traditional storage and RAID controllers, opting instead for off-the-shelf components and a highly parallelized I/O architecture to create a distributed RAID environment.
One of the key components is the Databank, a series of network storage nodes based on x86 servers and disk drives wired up over standard Gigabit Ethernet. Databanks can be added and removed to scale not just memory capacity, which can stretch into the terabyte range, but processing power, cache and networking ports as well. Each Databank sports 12 500 GB or 750 GB drives at a cost of about $18,000.
The system also features multi-node data protection, which eliminates the need for replication while still maintaining access in the event of a drive, node or even network failure.
Pivot3 launched in 2003, no doubt in anticipation of the tremendous demand for storage solutions. It will be interesting to see if its system is as revolutionary and cost-effective as it looks on paper, and whether the company can swim with the much larger fish that are already plying the storage waters.