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Lock up data with fixed-content storage

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CAS features
All CAS products deliver the following fixed-content storage requirements:

  • Data is accessible by content, not storage location
  • Scales economically
  • Manages large amounts of data
  • Guarantees data authenticity and security
  • Manages data-retention periods
  • Facilitates rapid data recall
To deliver these basic requirements, many CAS vendors use the RAIN grid architecture. A RAIN device is usually a commodity server (called a node) with internal SATA hard drives and vendor-supplied CAS software. The nodes in EMC's Centera and Permabit's Permeon RAIN architecture support two personalities: an access or portal node and a storage node. The access nodes are clustered and connected to the Ethernet network to receive and process either incoming files or requests for data using a number of network protocols. The access node identifies where the object is to be stored or where it resides, and then stores or retrieves the object from the storage node.

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Content-addressed storage products
Click here for a comprehensive list of Content-addressed storage products (PDF).

Vendors can support and configure storage nodes by deploying each storage node with a partner node and mirroring the objects between the storage nodes. HP deploys each of its SmartCell storage nodes with a partner so every node keeps a mirror of its partner's data. If a partner node fails, one or several nodes in the larger cluster are identified as replacement nodes to host the data until the partner node is replaced.

You can also preserve the integrity of data or objects by balancing data across multiple storage nodes. Archivas' ArC and Permabit's Permeon Compliance Store use this approach to enable users to deploy nodes one at a time; this allows data to be distributed evenly across storage nodes. Each object is copied and stored on at least two different nodes to prevent data loss due to a node hardware failure.

This was first published in June 2006

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