Bloomfield Firm Offering Major Data Storage Advance

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Yottabyte

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — Data storage has gotten a lot cheaper in recent years.

And now, a Bloomfield Township company is hoping to lop another zero off the cost of storing your stuff.

Essentially, Yottabyte is using software to create virtual data centers, using cheaper so-called commodity hardware to replace more expensive software and systems from vendors like IBM, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, EMC and NetApp.

Yottabyte LLC is the brain child of three veteran Michigan technology entrepreneurs — Paul Hodges, who started Bloomfield Computer in 1994 and sold it to Logicalis in 2000 and was later a principal at Netarx and co-founder of Codespear, a Birmingham broadcast alert and communications technology developer; Duane Tursi, co-founder of Netarx, a provider of managed IT services and infrastructure design, founded in 1997 and also purchased by Logicalis, in 2011; and Greg Campbell, a co-founder of Codespear. Hodges is president and CEO, Campbell is vice president of technology and Tursi is vice-president of sales and marketing.

Tursi said organizations can spend $5,000 to $15,000 for a terabyte of storage on a traditional storage area network, or SAN.

With Yottabyte software and commodity hardware, Tursi said he can deliver identical storage performance for under $500 a terabyte.

Yottabyte was formed in 2010 and emerged from “stealth mode” Oct. 24. That date was very intentional, Tursi said, because a yottabyte is an actual thing — it’s the largest defined measure of memory, a trillion terabytes, or a trillion trillion bytes, or 10 to the 24th power — 10-24.

Tursi said Yottabyte currently has 22 employees, and plans to be at 40 employees by the end of 2013. And it’s hiring. “We’re looking for hard core software development folks, C development people and Web developer-coder folks,” Tursi said. “And we will be building an engineering and support team, a slightly different skill set.”

Tursi said Yottabyte is an extension of the storage revolution that began in the late 2000s, when bandwidth got cheap and virtualization let users run several servers in one physical box. Now, Tursi said, Yottabyte provides an “infrastructure abstraction layer” in its Yottabyte Virtual Data Center software that provides virtual SAN, virtual machine management, data de-duplication, and enterprise file and VM sharing.

“The cloud for us isn’t something you buy, it’s the way you do it, and what we do is a software data center,” Tursi said. “Apps and data move seamlessly in the software data center.”

Yottabyte already has 15 customers, ranging from IT giants like VMware to major auto suppliers like Takata. The software can run on existing storage devices or new “bare metal,” Tursi said. (A white paper of the Takata experience is available at www.yottabyte.com/…/pdf/Takata_Americas_Case_Study.pdf.)

Yottabyte has made a “community edition” of its software available free for download online. It’s limited to a single appliance and lacks capabilities like active directory integration and support. But Tursi said someone could download the software and use it to create, say, a home media system. It’s been downloaded nearly 100 times already.

The fully supported commercial version of the software is $3,245 for a one-year appliance license and basic support, or $8.274.75 for a three-year pre-pay. Clients who also want to use Yottabyte’s software for cloud storage will pay 15 cents per de-duplicated gigabyte per month. (An illustration of the products is at www.yottabyte.com/products.)

Tursi said he’s confident the company will continue to grow in Michigan.

“All the founders, we’ve been in Michigan a long time, we know where the resources are, and we’re growing the business,” Tursi said.

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