Every once in a while you see a solution by a startup and you get all excited. AetherStore is one of those type of solutions. The funny thing is that AetherStore is not directly related to my day-to-day job, but I can fully relate to their pitch. So what is AetherStore and who are the folks behind it?
AetherStore was founded by three graduates from Scotland’s University of St Andrews. This by itself is worth mentioning in my opinion as especially in this space I don’t typically see an enormous amount of innovation coming out of Europe. (Although since then they moved to the US.) With experience in distributed systems, fault tolerance, databases and storage it is not surprising to see what problems they are trying to solve and how they are intending to solve it.
AetherStore is indeed a storage solution as you probably had already guessed. AetherStore is all about using spare resources, and in this case storage resources. Essentially what AetherStore is aiming to do for your company is leveraging the available local disk space of your desktops (and servers for that matter) and offer that up as a “data store”. In other words; if you have 20 desktops with a 1 TB disk but only 100GB is used then 900GB of that disk can be used for other purposes. Now reality of course is that it isn’t possible to use the full 900GB for other purposes but you get my point.
AetherStore essentially is a distributed data store solution. This distributed data store is served up to users as a regular network file share and all the magic AetherStore does is hidden from the user. I guess the big question that pops-up immediately is what about availability, security and performance? All three of those are typically what either keeps the user, or the administrator busy. AetherStore solves those problems in various ways:
- Performance: a local cache is used to optimize the end-user experience
- Availability: Data is replicated to multiple “nodes” meaning that if a “node” fails than data can be reconstructred. On top of that AetherStore offers the ability to backup (and restore) data to the “cloud” (Mozy, Amazon etc)
- Security: Data is encrypted
That is not all, on top of that AetherStore offers versioning of files and ensure efficiency by offering deduplication. I guess it all sounds very promising right? In my opinion it does, and it is one of those solutions that I have on my “watch lists”.
I do wonder what the requirements are when it comes down to availability of data when people move around different desktops; and desktops are also powered-off or restarted by users at random. I also would like to point out here that I have not played with AetherStore, neither is this article sponsored or am I affiliated with AetherStore in any way. This is simply and introduction to a cool startup which managed to intrigue / interest me with their technology.
If you want to find out more about AetherStore, make sure to sign up on http://www.aetherstore.com/ for early access if you are interested, and/or follow them on twitter. If you want to know more, I can recommend this white paper about AetherStore as it reveals some more of details of the implementation.