Parascale launches cloud storage software

Software can create a single domain name space across hundreds of Linux servers

Grid storage computing startup Parascale Inc. Monday announced the availability of its new ParaScale Cloud Storage (PCS) software, which it said can be used to cobble together hundreds of commodity servers to act as a massively scalable, high-availability, file repository.

The PCS software can be downloaded from the web to turn a network of Linux-based servers into a cloud storage system.

ParaScale said that the PCS software can be used by managed service providers to build different types of public clouds, which would allow them to offer a variety of cloud storage services. Corporate sites, meanwhile, can use PCS to gradually build their own private clouds using servers inside their own firewall.

Sony Pictures Imageworks is beta testing the PCS technology to determine whether an in-house storage cloud could lower the costs of its storage intensive infrastructure. The animation firm currently uses network-attached storage systems from NetApp and clustered file system storage offerings from Isilon Systems Inc., said Nick Bali, a senior systems engineer at the Sony Pictures Entertainment unit. The NetApp and Isilon systems store 750TB of Sony data, he added.

Bali said he's still waiting for the full ParaScale system he plans to test -- the company currently has two of the four storage nodes slated for installation.

"I'm still running tests, but it looks promising," he said. "But we just need to make sure it's capable of being hit with [I/O traffic from] a fairly decent size compute farm and still work well."

Sony's compute farm, used to render computer-generated animation, contains about 3,000 nodes. Bali said the company recently cut costs by replacing proprietary hardware with commodity servers, and now plans to do the same with the storage infrastructure. "We're constantly looking for ways to drive down storage costs," he said.

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