November 15, 2010 – BridgeSTOR will officially launch tomorrow, introducing a line of “advanced data reduction” appliances under the Application-Optimized Storage (AOS) brand. The startup was founded by John Matze, who also started companies such as Siafu Software (acquired by Hifn, which was acquired by Exar) and Okapi (acquired by Overland Storage).

Matze argues that most existing approaches to data reduction (aka capacity optimization) are aimed at larger enterprises and are relatively costly. In contrast, BridgeSTOR is focused on the SMB market, with some of its appliances priced at less than $20,000.

Unlike approaches that focus on one type of data reduction technology, BridgeSTOR’s AOS appliances can combine data deduplication, compression, thin provisioning and, optionally, encryption. The inline appliances can be used on primary or secondary storage resources, but are for now focused on data “at rest.” In the future, BridgeSTOR will focus on the data transportation issues associated with cloud storage/computing.

BridgeSTOR refers to its technology as Virtual Storage Advanced Data Reduction (VS-ADR).

“BridgeSTOR does for storage what VMware does for servers,” says Matze.

The company is initially offering three appliance models that are tuned for specific application environments: VMware virtualization, backup applications and network storage (iSCSI and NAS). All of the RAID appliances are 2U, 25-drive boxes, with base configurations of nine drives. The versions for VMware are configured with 6Gbps SAS drives, while the appliances for backup and network storage are configured with 3Gbps SATA drives.

The appliances that are tuned for VMware and networks storage use both data deduplication and compression, while the appliances that are tuned for backup applications use only compression. For those appliances, BridgeSTOR bundles Symantec’s Backup Exec 2010, which includes data deduplication.

Data reduction ratios vary depending on a number of factors, but Matze conservatively specifies a data reduction ratio of 3:1.

A nine-drive appliance with data compression and Symantec’s Backup Exec 2010 is priced at less than $20,000.

BridgeSTOR is pursing a channel-only distribution strategy, and is currently in the process of signing up resellers. The AOS appliances will be generally available at the end of this month.

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