Briefing Note: DataGravity – Intelligent Primary Storage

There is no question that data centers need to provide faster access to ever increasing volumes of data, and do so at increasingly lower price points. To accomplish this storage vendors are focused on integrating flash based storage as well as providing data efficiency technologies like deduplication and compression. These features treat data as a commodity item that needs to be stored as cheaply as possible, until it needs to be delivered as rapidly as possible. But businesses need to transform their view of data from a commodity to the valuable asset that it is. IT needs primary storage systems that can help them deliver what the business needs, data assets.

The DataGravity Discovery Series is a primary storage system that promises to help IT allow their organizations to make the transformation from viewing data as a commodity to data as an asset. They do this by providing what they call “data aware storage”. This means that all the data that is stored on your primary storage system is automatically categorized and indexed. With it, you can find data based on key words, relationship to users, as well as sensitive information. For example, the system can pinpoint all the files it contains that have credit card or social security numbers in them.

Primary Storage First

First and foremost, though, the DataGravity solution is a primary storage system. It provides all the key features you would expect from traditional storage systems and provides functionality like integrated flash and data efficiency through deduplication and compression. In other words, it meets the ‘table stakes’ requirements needed to call itself “primary storage”.

Data Intelligence

What makes the DataGravity solution very unique is its inclusion of this data awareness capability, through which you can meet a wide variety of discovery, governance, and data protection requirements. Most businesses would like to have these capabilities and some have tried to implement them through third party software. But they are complex, expensive, and don’t integrate well with the primary data store. IT struggles with how to get the data to the secondary solution.

There is precedence for this type of solution to be successful. Data tiering and caching have become widely used, even though their predecessors Integrated Lifecycle Management (ILM) and Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM) mostly were failures. The key difference is that data tiering is now integrated into primary storage. It makes sense that integrating discovery, governance, and protection directly into primary storage would be equally successful.

StorageSwiss Take

DataGravity has a very unique solution on its hands, one that could be a game changer for people who own and manage businesses. The solution makes so much sense, integrating the functionality directly on primary storage, you have to wonder why no one thought of this before.

The system enables more than just the negative “keep me out of trouble” side of discovery/compliance and evolves it into empowering the organization to transform its data commodities into data assets. But it is important to note that DataGravity does these things while meeting the fundamental requirements of a primary storage system.

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Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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One comment on “Briefing Note: DataGravity – Intelligent Primary Storage
  1. Tim Wessels says:

    Well, DataGravity and EqualLogic have a shared history. I recall when Michael Dell’s company handed the founders of EqualLogic a $1.3B check for the company. EqualLogic never had a profitable year. Some of the same founders are now at DataGravity, which has received $92M in funding so far. My guess is DataGravity’s exit strategy is to arrange for another buyout. Nothing wrong with that. SDN pioneer Nicira, was acquired by VMware for $1.26B a couple of years ago having received just $50M in funding. BTW, Michael White’s blog entry (Notes from MWhite) from last November (Why VMware customers should have DataGravity!) noted that DataGravity is great to use with VMware…hmmm.

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