Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Meet Compuverde, Sweden’s Answer to Big-Data Storage Problems

These days, CIOs are buying a few more antacids than they were before, over concerns about data storage. There’s so much more data being generated than at any previous time, for all sorts of reasons: Transactions, tracking, messaging, regulatory requirements, analytics. The more storage capacity you buy, it often seems, the more you need.

And even when you have sufficient storage, you run into another problem: No matter how good they are, the systems you buy have a way of getting clogged up as data gets pushed through the pipes. Between you and your storage system are gateways that direct traffic to those storage systems, and they tend to get bogged down.

Last week, I met with a company from Sweden called Compuverde, which has a solution to that problem. Basically, it’s software that redistributes the traffic flowing in and out of the pipes and evens it out. In essence, all the storage hardware gets a more orderly and equally distributed stream of data coming in and flowing out, and, as a result, it runs a lot more efficiently. That’s one piece of the puzzle.

But there’s a more interesting problem. A lot of the data getting created is basically copies and then copies of copies for the purposes of backup, and then backups for backups. It’s inefficient, and makes for a world where storage gets both energy-hungry and expensive, and therefore expensive to operate.

Compuverde attacks this problem, too. Its Object Store product is software that ties basic commodity hardware together and makes it act like a much more expensive and fail-safe storage environment. The result, the company says, is a rock-solid storage environment that can handle hundreds of petabytes of data, and that’s more efficient and cheaper to own and operate than the higher-end storage systems from the likes of EMC and NetApp.

Stefan Bernbo, Compuverde’s CEO, says the company has customers who have tried out its software who have seen a 400 percent improvement in efficiency. It’s kind of a bold claim, but at the company’s HQ in the city of Karlskrona, in southern Sweden, it operates a big 13-petabyte storage array that prospective customers can try out on their own and see the results in action.

The company is being bankrolled for now by its executive chairman Mikael Blomqvist, a seasoned Swedish entrepreneur who founded a cable-isolation company called Roxtec, which he later sold to Mellby Gård, a Sweden-based industrial concern.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus