Scale out storage: Caringo says it’s all about the software

Since the dawn of the digital age we’ve scattered more and more information about ourselves on the web, inside home computers and laptops and in online storage lockers. It’s the reason we love Facebook(s fb) and use it as our personal scrapbooks. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime for marketers. And for Caringo it’s the reason it exists.
Caringo, an Austin Texas based company, was formed in 2005 with the idea of creating a new type of file system for storing data of storage software that uses a single namespace to scale to many petabytes of data. Its three founders had worked together at several startups including SequeLink and FileLink before forming Caringo. In 2006 before Amazon (s amzn) launched its Simple Storage Service Caringo released CAStor, software that created a scalable storage service. Amazon’s launch of cloud storage validated Caringo’s plans, and gave it something to sell against.
Caringo’s software is now used by hundreds of customers, who use it internally to create private storage clouds, and by resellers such as Vodafone (s vod) which use it to offer scalable storage services in the cloud. The software sits on top of a cluster of storage boxes and abstracts out the hardware. It does the work of shifting data around to all the boxes, replicating it in case a disk fails and then restoring the data after a failure.
And as of Tuesday it will offer three new product extensions that allow companies a faster way to index the data stored on a Caringo cluster and queries that data. It also offers a way to dictate specific replication schemes for different types of content stored on boxes running Caringo’s software as well as a management layer that lets people bridge different hardware clusters in different data centers.
The product and the customers it has are a testament to the Caringo’s belief that storage is a hot area thanks to our massively growing digital footprints and a growing obsession with big data. Below I spoke with Jonathan Ring, co-founder and president of Caringo about his views on the future of scale-out storage and big data. His most controversial concept is probably a complete divorce of his software from the underlying hardware and his vision for the future of infrastructure. Check it out. Both are topics we’ll discuss at our Structure 2012 conference this week in San Francisco.