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Delphix, whose Delphix Server technology is already shipping, provides database virtualization, storage optimization and management software designed to improve efficiency of storage used by Oracle and other databases. Delphix uses "intelligent block management, intelligent block sizing, compression, de-duplication and database filtering technologies" to reduce storage needs, and reduces time needed for database provisioning and refreshes without disrupting production systems. Delphix itself installs on an x86 server or virtual machine; database servers such as Oracle "simply see Delphix Server as a storage target."
Membase goes a different route than Akiban with a NoSQL database management system that includes and builds upon Memcached, a distributed memory caching system that's widely used by many large Web properties. Membase Server, a commercial distribution of open source software that's already powering the online game "Farmville," is designed to improve scalability and performance of Web apps while reducing the complexity of data management.
Membase officials say Memcached "is a key ingredient in the scale our data architecture behind 18 of the top 20 most heavily trafficked Web sites (including Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia and Craigslist) and tens of thousands of other corporate and consumer web applications." Analyst Curt Monash of Monash Research notes that Membase is targeting a potentially huge market in the hopes that such large Web properties will use its software to improve performance of Memcached.
The Membase open source project began last year as a collaborative effect involving Zynga, the creator of online games such as FarmVille and Mafia Wars.
Storage bottlenecks have become a problem in data centers that are heavily virtualized, and customers looking to adopt cloud storage have struggled with performance and security. That's where this next group of startups comes in.
Cirtas, whose Bluejet Cloud Storage Controller is shipping for $70,000 and up, lets enterprises offload less frequently used data to the cloud while keeping high priority data in-house for optimal performance. The 2U appliance caches high priority data locally and stores secondary data in cloud services using WAN optimization technology, letting customers access cloud storage with performance and security in mind. The appliance combines DRAM, solid state drives (SSDs) and 7200RPM hard disk drives for multiple tiers of storage and up to 3.5TB of internal capacity.
"Cirtas claims they basically make the cloud look local to the applications," says analyst Arun Taneja of the Taneja Group. "That's the magic" -- customers get local performance with the price and flexibility of cloud computing.
Gridiron Systems, meanwhile, built a SAN application accelerator designed for large databases, VMware deployments, Oracle and general file acceleration. Gridiron uses MLC (multi-level cell) flash chips to provide "the performance and read/write ability of RAM with the capacity of Flash," speeding up access to application data sets.