Storage system holds fixed content that doesn't need editing but has to be ready for quick retrieval

Storage vendor EMC Corp. has unveiled a system to stash files that don't need frequent alteration.

The EMC Centera storage server holds so-called fixed content, such as digital images, e-mail archives and similar static files, said Barry Burke, director of integrated solutions marketing for the Hopkinton, Mass., company. These types of files don't require editing but must be handy, often because of retention requirements.

Centera uses MD5, a digital-signature algorithm, to guard against tampering with stored files. Applications on the network also use the signature to find and retrieve data, Burke said.

Directory path problem

Other types of networked storage use location addressing, which presents problems if the directory path changes, he said.

EMC has dubbed Centera's type of storage content-addressed storage. The company calls the Centera architecture a redundant array of independent nodes, or RAIN. A Centera cabinet holds 16, 24 or 32 such nodes, each holding four 160G drives powered by an 850-MHz Intel Pentium III.

Stocked with the full 32 nodes, a Centera cabinet holds 19.2T of raw data or 9.6T of mirrored data. In turn, the cabinets can be networked together to house slightly more than 1 petabyte of storage, Burke said.

'We can get to a petabyte using today's 160G hard drives,' Burke said. Centera will accommodate the 320G drives that will come on the market later this year.
Pricing is based on capacity. A 16-node system with 10T of raw storage costs $210,000.

Contact EMC at 866-283-8841.

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