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SD2003: The pros and cons of content-addressed storage (CAS)

File location independence, authenticity of your files, and the elimination of redundancy are just a few of the benefits of content-addressed storage (CAS) as cited by Arun Taneja.

File location independence, authenticity of your files, and the elimination of redundancy are just a few of the benefits of content-addressed storage (CAS) as cited by Arun Taneja, Founder, President and Consulting Analyst of the Taneja Group, at his recent Storage Decisions 2003 workshop. Why is it important to understand the implications and potential benefits of this emerging storage technology? According to Taneja, tapping the technology behind content-addressed storage can help you put an end to what he calls the "data tsunami," where data growth continues to spiral out of control.

Content-addressed storage can be used effectively for archiving, backup and restore, and disaster recovery. It works by applying an algorithm to the object's content. The result is a unique, 128-bit code that eliminates the redundancy of stored files, reduces the amount of data stored by a ratio of 10:1 and frees up storage space and resources.

Two CAS-related products -- Avamar Technology's Axion and EMC's Centera -- are currently available, he said. Since this technology and these products are still relatively new, however, he warned that implementing a new CAS system can require new procedures and tools, which could be disruptive in the short term.

Taneja recommended testing out these new systems one project at a time, while keeping a more proven method running parallel to a new CAS system. This phased rollout approach ensures you are still successfully saving your data, he said.

As CAS technology matures, he also recommended that attendees stay informed about other CAS products that may come to market.

Presentation slides and other links to the full session proceedings are available here.

About the speaker: Arun Taneja is the Founder, President and Consulting Analyst of the Taneja Group, an analyst and consulting group focused on storage and storage-centric server technologies. From late 2000 to early 2003 he was a Senior Analyst at the Enterprise Storage Group, an analyst group focused on storage technologies. He has 25 years experience in the industry specifically in the areas of Servers, Operating systems, File Systems, Storage Area Networks, Network Attached Storage, FC, iSCSI and InfiniBand, Clustering and Storage Management Software (backup/restore, replication, snapshot, SRM, virtualization, etc.). Arun has held various executive level positions in marketing and engineering with companies like Sun Microsystems, IBM, Data General, Vixel and Andataco. He specializes in identifying technologies that have disruptive market potential and assisting companies with market positioning and strategy. He works with a number of VC's in assessing technologies (FC, iSCSI, InfiniBand and others) and companies. He speaks often at trade shows, customer and industry events and writes on technology trends and implications for IT in the mid to large enterprises. He is frequently quoted in the press as an industry expert in storage networking. Arun holds a Bachelor's in Technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India and an MSEE and MBA from the University of New Hampshire.

Dig Deeper on Data center storage

Storage Decisions Session Downloads: Data Retention & Retrieval Track (San Francisco 2008) Call it regulatory compliance, legal vigilance, good disk management or just plain common sense -- regardless of your company's motivation, a sound system for retaining and disposing of data is one of the modern requirements of storage management. Developing a consistent, repeatable and practical set of data retention policies is the first step in the process. Tools such as data classification applications can help automate the process of sorting through the reams of structured and unstructured data to determine its appropriate disposition. While storage managers may consider this a business unit function, as keepers of company's data they are very much in the mix. And, as such, they need to know about the legal implications, the types of systems best suited for retained data and how encryption can help ensure that data is kept intact in its original form.

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