StorageTek is adding content-addressable store technology (CAS) to its range of storage products. According to an industry source, StorageTek is taking technology from Permabit and will announce an OEM deal in two weeks' time.

CAS technology is used to store data records whose content is fixed and whose likelihood of being accessed is relatively low. Nevertheless the data must be kept online. This is a growing feature of compliance regimes where industry regulators in, for example, the financial field, may request all records dealing with certain transactions, some of which may be several years old.

EMC established the idea of using non-duplicated data stores for this purpose. Its Centera device, which splits data records into blocks, uses hash addressing to ensure duplicate blocks are detected and deleted, thus minimising the amount of diskspace needed. This way multiple copies of attachments would not be stored with e-mails.

Permabit sells the Permeon Reference Vault and Permeon Compliance Vault - configurable as a WORM device - products. These are software products that run on standard networked and clustered servers. StorageTek is taking Permeon software and building its own CAS product set to offer customers.

The source said that, "Permabit is only a small piece of what's going on. Much bigger things will be revealed in the next quarter."

Permabit is a small player in the CAS market. Network Appliance has its LockVault system. Other suppliers include Avamar. Permabit has already built formal relationships with Archivio, CommVault Systems, and iLumin and has qualified software from KVS - now Veritas - and Legato (owned by EMC).

With the increasing importance of compliance systems at the enterprise level smaller players need to hitch a ride on the backs of enterprise suppliers. StorageTek needs CAS technology and it has enterprise credentials. Permabit has the technology but no entry through the enterprise portal.

An obvious question raised by this is whether StorageTek will buy Permabit. No-one is saying anything officially but as our source said, "Watch this space."