• United States

Archivas saves vital content

May 03, 20043 mins
Data Center

NEW YORK – Andres Rodriguez’s old employer is known for publishing “All the news that’s fit to print.” His new company, Archivas, has been formed to handle all the e-mail and other fixed content that’s fit to save.

The former New York Times CTO founded Archivas last year after struggling to find a good way to digitally store 150 years worth of back issues at the Times. Archivas is getting good reviews for new technology that gives users a way to conform with federal and state regulations for storing e-mail, medical images and other fixed content.

The company unveiled its primarily software-based Archivas Cluster (ArC) last week at the Storage Decisions show in New York City. The ArC software is distributed across a cluster of industry-standard IBM, Penquin or Linux Networx servers. It will run on Dell and HP systems as soon as certification takes place.

Curt Tilmes, system engineer at the NASA Goddard Space Science Center in Greenbelt, Md., tested a beta version of the Archivas Cluster.

“Archivas’ product can be installed on a variety of platforms, which gives me lots of flexibility in how I configure my clusters,” Tilmes says. “I can drop the cluster in and scale it to very large amounts of storage.”

When a user stores a file, the ArC software assigns it a unique metadata reference, which identifies not only the contents of the file but also information on how long it needs to be retained. The file then is stored on an available disk in the cluster. The metadata reference is stored in a database, which is used when a file is needed.

Further, administrators can create rules that dictate the movement of data from disk to tape or the elimination of duplicate files to reclaim disk space. Rules also might be created that balance the activity of the server cluster.

Archivas is not without competition in this market, which The Yankee Group says will be worth $1.3 billion in just two years. EMC dominates the market with its Centera product. Others in the market are Network Appliance with its NearStore and SnapLock offerings, and start-up Permabit, whose Permeon technology was released last fall.

Location:Waltham, Mass.
Founded:May 2003
Primary product:Archivas Cluster (ArC), a fixed-content repository.
Management:CEO Andres Rodriguez
Funding:$6 million from Polaris Venture Partners and North Bridge Venture Partners.
Fun fact:Rodriguez founded Archivas after failing to find a digital way to archive 150 years of back issues while CTO at The New York Times.

Peter Gerr, an analyst with Enterprise Storage Group, says Archivas’ ArC and Permabit’s product differ from EMC’s Centera in that the software is available separate from the hardware.

“Centera was great because it created a new market,” he says. “The market has quickly shifted though from purpose-built systems to software that is disaggregated from hardware. Network Appliance’s SnapLock set the precedent for that.”

ArC can catalog Microsoft Common Information File System, Unix/Linux Network File System, HTTP and FTP data.

Rodriguez estimates that ArC, scheduled to be available in September, will cost 1 cent per megabyte.