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Quicker Data Access

Storigen aims to bring high-speed data availability to remote access.

Storage networking still carries too much baggage for remote locations. Storigen Systems Inc. is one of a few vendors working with existing storage providers to bring high-speed performance to remote sites. Storigen aims to make data available to customers around the world, as they access a system without traversing the globe. Systems and data reside where the people are.

Storigen on Tuesday unveiled a new customer in Discovery Communications Inc., owner of The Discovery Channel, which signed on with Storigen because it needed to improve its ability to collaborate with divisions, partners, and individuals with ideas a lot quicker. For Discovery, many of those ideas come from Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

Thanks to Storigen, for example, 10 remote offices around Asia now can access most of the data they need from a central site in Singapore. "Bits in a box video sent overnight is still very common in our industry," says Mona Abutaleb, senior VP of global shared services at Discovery. "Before, someone in Asia would have a great idea for a show, send their 30-second promo in box, and while waiting for approval from us, competitors could grab it from us." Now that person gets the information ingested, digitized, and sends it over IP when North America is sleeping, so it's in the right person's in-box when he or she logs on in the morning.

Discovery has an Edge Storage Manager in each region of the world and Edge Storage Servers from Storigen in many remote sites. Storigen provides software that runs on Intel hardware and Windows or Linux. The vendor will build its own turnkey systems for customers who want them, or the software will run on servers from Dell Computer, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM. Edge Storage Manager also works in tandem with existing storage systems. Storigen CEO Dennis Hoffman says they'll move data off hours once, store it locally, and route requests to the nearest source of data. "Companies want to consolidate servers and storage for reduced cost of operations. We see the increased use of applications from remote sites and the mix of rich data in the overall scheme of what's being stored are what got us here," he says.

Peter Christy, an analyst at NetsEdge Research Group, thinks Storigen faces some direct competition from Network Appliance Inc. and Tacit Networks Inc. He looked for distributed storage systems for a couple of years but finds the same consolidation and cost savings that Hoffman referred to. "Storage logically lives back at the mother ship," Christy says. "But if you want the information as useful as possible, you want it to appear next to where it's consumed. This is where Storigen intrudes."

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