Ellison-backed vendor tackles wasted storage problem

Pillar Data Systems to push thin provisioning concept

Pillar Data Systems, the storage vendor funded by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, is getting ready to bolster its line of features with technology that helps businesses avoid wasting storage space known as thin provisioning.

Pillar will release the new feature in beta to a small group of customers in a month, and include thin provisioning in a full upgrade of its Axiom storage system in September, company officials said this week.

Pillar executives would discuss only a few details of their plans, but said over the next two years they want to focus more on mid-sized businesses and improve the way storage integrates with applications. The goal is to make it easier to set parameters governing the way storage behaves, with more automation and point-and-click functionality, says Michael Workman, president and CEO of Pillar.

Thin provisioning eliminates the problem of over-provisioning of storage, in which storage capacity is pre-allocated to applications but never used. Thin provisioning lets users set aside a single pool of storage to handle the data growth requirements of multiple applications. More than 100 percent of storage capacity can thus be allocated to applications, but capacity remains available because it won't be consumed all at once.

"Thin provisioning is a feature that is used to essentially alleviate the problem in some operating systems today where once you specify the size of a LUN -- a logical unit -- that it's very difficult and cumbersome without migrating data and doing a lot of work to increase the size of that LUN," Workman says.

If a company thinks it needs 100TB of storage space, it might provision 200TB just in case it has miscalculated, he says. "That overprovisioning of data space causes people to waste storage for a long time because of this operating system issue," he says. "What thin provisioning does is it allows you to effectively lie about the size of the physical space that you have for a LUN size sand say 'oh, it's 200 terabytes even if you only have 100 physical terabytes there. ... It allows people to overprovision without physically having to buy that storage in the first place."

Vendors already offering thin provisioning include 3Par, Network Appliance, Compellent, LeftHand Networks, DataCore and Equallogic.

Axiom storage systems start at about US$40,000, and some implementations can cost $1 million, depending on capacity and various configurations, Workman says.

Pillar, founded in 2001, has been driven by US$250 million in investments from Ellison, who owns 83 percent of the company, according to Workman.

Pillar has been pitching its storage system as an environmentally friendly product recently, saying it can help customers hold the line on electricity usage and space requirements even as the amount of data grows.

"Our argument is it certainly can't hurt the planet to reduce the power consumption of the IT sector," Workman says. "What we do every day is try to minimize that, maximize the capacity and performance you get per watt you put in the box."

Network World Senior Editor Deni Connor contributed to this report.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jon Brodkin

Network World
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?