A number of the judges used the word "innovative" when describing the ATA disk-based fixed-content features of EMC Corp.'s Centera with Compliance Edition. We agree. Centera essentially marked the start of the content-addressed storage (CAS) offerings. Its write once, read many (WORM) disk capabilities make this a perfect candidate to handle the massive crunch compliance regulations are applying to many shops.
Using the features of the Compliance Edition, Centera uses integrated hardware and software codes to leverage rewritable disk and make it unalterable. This method of "fingerprinting" data makes for easy recovery. While the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) doesn't require this function, the Centera performs it as a quality control measure by leveraging it to check with data periodically to make sure it hasn't been tampered with. These features allow Centera to meet and clearly exceed today's strictest record retention regulations.
Why just the bronze for a product this innovative? One storage manager we spoke to said he liked the idea of CAS, but was unsure he'd buy a separate device for that specific function.
Another wrinkle to watch -- Centera's proprietary API interface.