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By | Chris Mellor 26th March 2010 08:41

Dell and Caringo in OEM cahoots?

Competes with EMC's Centera and Atmos

Comment Dell's DX6000 object storage platform, built using unidentified partner technologies, is set to compete with MC's Centera and Atmos products. DX software looks to be sourced from Caringo.

Caringo is a company that produces CAStor, a content-addressable storage (CAS) system in the Centera mould which is self-managing, built to turn on commodity hardware, scalable through clustering, checks the integrity of its data, and replicates its content to one or more other clusters. Data is stored as content plus a computed hash value that uniquely identifies it and enables integrity checking. It is also used to locate the data or object, replacing a file system.

The history is interesting from a Dell and EMC perspective, as EMC bought a company called FilePool for its CAS technology in April 2001, subsequently introducing its Centera product. This company became EMC's Belgium-based Centera development group.

EMC's Centera is a set of networked 1U servers running Linux which are either storage nodes or access nodes. Today Centera is the leading product in the multi-billion dollar CAS market.

FilePool had been founded by Paul Carpentier and Jan Van Riel in the late 90s. Carpentier left FilePool when EMC bought it, and co-founded Caringo in 2006 to build a more general CAS and file storage system running on clustered commodity hardware. Caringo was named for its founders: Carpentier, Jonathan Ring and Mark Goros.

Van Riel left EMC in December 2008 and joined Caringo, amid news that the Centera development centre was closing and claims that Centera development was being scaled down. A month before EMC had announced Atmos, a highly scalable object storage technology for cloud computing.

At the time EMC denied that Atmos overlapped Centera, asserting that Atmos relates to object storage access on a global scale whereas Centera is to do with the archival retention of objects.

What Dell has now done is to reject - or be denied the use of - both Centera and Atmos technology in its DX object storage platform. It's surely likely that EMC would have appreciated Dell's help and its vast channel in popularising Atmos which is still in the early stages of development. However Dell has turned, it appears, to Caringo instead.

Caringo lists Dell as a solution and ISV (independent software vendor) partner.

Dell's DX6000 Cluster Services Node contains a Content Router which carries out replication on a 1:1, 1:many; many:1, or many:many basis.

Caringo's CAStor product also contains a Content Router which "provides flexibility in configuration to roll-up content from clusters located at remote offices to a central facility in one-to-one, one-to-many or many-to-one scenarios". That looks awfully similar to the DX replication.

Although Cisco has a Content Router product it is different, enabling real-time DNS requests to be routed by network service providers, internet hosting providers, or broadband access providers.

Like the DX, CAStor also uses an HTTP interface.

It seems clear enough - although neither Dell nor Caringo are saying there is an OEM relationship between them, there is one. The DX 6000 object storage platform uses CAStor software, and Dell is now competing with EMC's Centera and Atmos products and cloud service for the petabyte-scale storage of files and other data as objects. ®

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