Permabit Wants to Make its Mark on Storage

Storage software maker Permabit unveiled its latest product to help address regulatory compliance issues Tuesday, with new software that safeguards e-mails, instant messages and other documents from destruction.


One of the few companies to address specific content addressed storage
(CAS), Permabit unveiled Permeon Compliance Vault to help enterprise
meet the rules of such government regulations as SEC 17a-4, HIPAA, and the
Sarbanes-Oxley Act.


Stephen Ellis, co-founder and vice president of business development at
the
Cambridge, Mass., company, said Compliance Vault software turns magnetic
disk-based hardware into non-rewriteable and non-erasable Write Once,
Read Many (WORM) storage in order to make record retention management
and data integrity possible.

Ellis said Permabit has worked hard to provide a granular, yet
stringent, record retention policy as possible in Compliance Vault. For example,
users may extend and set new retention periods in the future, but cannot
shorten them.


And, while it’s one thing to be able to preserve files for the duration
of
their lifetime, it’s another to retrieve a single file from a database
with millions.


But Permeon’s CAS architecture divides individual files into blocks and
assigns each block of data a unique content address, or “finger print”
based
on its actual content. The software recalculates this content address
as it
writes the block to disk, verifying that the record was stored intact,
he
said.


Compliance Vault generates content certificates, which record its
content
address. Customers can use these content certificates to prove that a
record
has not changed throughout its lifetime.


Ellis said Permeon’s software also saves just one copy (plus a replica)
of
any block of data. For all subsequent blocks with the same content,
Permeon
saves a pointer to this copy to save capacity. Permeon’s architecture
also
allows users to distribute data cleanly across storage servers in the
system
for balancing resources.


Ellis said Permabit’s main rival in the space is EMC,
which
offers its Centera content-addressed storage software as a piece of its
information lifecycle management (ILM) strategy.


While Ellis said the Hopkinton, Mass.-based vendor’s technology is
sound, he
told internetnews.com, a key difference is that Permabit relies
on
industry standards, such as NFS and CIFS
file
system interfaces, to sell its software through partners and resellers.
It
works with most e-mail archiving and content management applications.


EMC, he said, relies on its own application programming interfaces
(APIs),
which means customers can get locked in to using EMC hardware even if
they
think they can find a better deal elsewhere. It is this pitfall that
turns
some more discerning customers off to EMC in the storage space.


By bundling Permeon Compliance Vault into hardware systems by the likes
of
Dell, HP and IBM, Ellis said Permabit has a great chance to show
customers
that its software can enforce retention periods, ensure lifetime record
integrity, and benefit from fast record retrieval just as well if not
better
than more mainstream vendors.

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