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Network World - Building a data storage start-up in this economy is quite a challenge, but there is room for innovation in an industry suffering from inefficiency and massive growth in data volumes. These nine data storage start-ups are trying to address such problems with technologies including memory virtualization, flash-based solid-state disks and cloud storage.
Founded: June 2007
Headquarters: Nashua, N.H.
What it offers: AutoMove, an automated data migration software package for Windows shops; AutoClone, which speeds up the replication and movement of Windows data; and AutoMap,
which maps a customer's distributed IT environment.
How company got its start: AutoVirt founders wanted to focus on mid-range businesses that lack the sophisticated data movement and management tools available to larger enterprises.
Why it's worth watching: The inefficiency of network-attached storage (NAS) usage patterns, the rapid growth of data and even the economic downturn are all factors that could potentially help AutoVirt succeed, according to an IDC profile on the vendor. Storage inefficiency will not be tolerated in a recession, IDC notes. "Senior management will demand remediation that will include reorganization of network shares and resulting data migrations from one location to another, the sweet spot of the AutoVirt solution," IDC says.
How company got its name: AutoVirt is short for automated virtualization, in reference to its file virtualization technology.
CEO: Josh Klein, previously president and COO of IT consulting and services firm GlassHouse Technologies, has also held executive positions at EMC and IBM.
Funding: $8.5 million from Kepha Partners and Sigma Partners
Who's using the product: Five Point Capital, Children's Hospital Boston, Harvard University and others.
Founded: April 2009
Headquarters: Berthoud, Colo.
What it offers: Cachengo offers cloud storage that is similar to Amazon's Simple Storage Service, but focuses heavily on de-duplication and continuous data protection by combining off-site storage with a locally installed appliance. Cachengo's Director 100, the appliance, is a file server that supports the CIFS, NFS and ISCSI protocols.
How company got its start: Founder and CEO Mike Young said he was "irritated at the industry" for approaches that led to more product segmentation and higher prices.
Why it's worth watching: Cachengo is hopping aboard the fast growing cloud storage bandwagon, but pairing the service with an appliance that it says combines the features of primary storage, backup storage and disaster recovery into one system. "I think they're doing something pretty cool," says analyst Tom Trainer of Analytico. "They're essentially caching data and sending it off to the cloud."
As a small company, Cachengo might struggle at first with customers "who are fearful of investing in nascent technology," Trainer says. The vendor is pursuing a two-pronged business strategy by targeting both the small and midsize business market as well as fellow vendors who want to base their own cloud backup services on the Cachengo appliance and hosted service.