Startups Try to Speed Up Storage

Much like it’s a pain to climb up into the attic to find your Christmas lights or those giant inflatable lawn decorations, getting data out of storage takes time. And heaven knows, we’re not a patient people when it comes to waiting for spreadsheets to load or video files to stream. That’s why storage is becoming more interesting to those who need instant access to a lot of information.

Instead of accessing data on disk drives, startups and the industry giants such as EMC are attempting to come up with faster ways to access information, measuring their progress in terms of how many requests a storage system can process per second. Startup Atrato, which launched this week with $18 million in funding and a name-brand board, says it can deliver 5,000 such transactions per second using its software laid over high-density disks.

But another startup, Gear6 of Mountain View, Calif., is taking a different tack, believing that adding more drives is akin to expanding your attic, and does little to hasten the process of climbing up the stairs to retrieve things. Gear 6 makes an appliance that sits between the storage network and servers and caches the stored data.

Caching is nothing new, but Gear 6 says it can cache up to one terabyte of data, and has built intelligence into the software. That software governing the cache keeps frequently accessed data at the fore, and drops other data out of the cache. If only I could get stuff out of my attic so easily.