Startup BridgeSTOR emerged from its development mode today and announced a data deduplication and compression appliance for VMware and third party backup utilities.

BridgeSTOR announced two versions of its Application Optimised Storage (AOS) appliances: the BridgeSTOR AOS Appliance for VMware Virtualisation, which is certified VMware Ready and the AOS Backup Exec 2010 Deduplicating Backup Appliance, an all-in-one that includes the Symantec Backup Exec 2010 Deduplication Suite.

BridgeSTOR's AOS appliances are based on two virtual storage technologies: Virtual Storage-Advanced Data Reduction (VS-ADR) that performs inline data deduplication, compression, thin provisioning and encryption and Virtual Storage-Network Attachment (VS-NA), a 10GbE technology that delivers high throughput and reduced latency for both VMware virtual machines and hypervisor tasks, including vMotion and Storage vMotion.

BridgeSTOR's founder and CEO John Matze, one of the inventors of the Internet SCSI (iSCSI) protocol, said he wanted to price the appliance aggressively for the small-to-medium-sized businesses it's targeted at. An appliance running Symantec's Backup Exec software has a retail price of just under $20,000. BridgeSTOR plans to begin shipping by the end of the month.

The BridgeSTOR AOS Appliance for Backup Exec 2010 combines Symantec's Data Deduplication Suite with BridgeSTOR's hardware-accelerated data compression to reduce backup data by as much as 90%. That effectively delivers the equivalent of up to 200 TBs of virtual backup-to-disk capacity in 2U (3.5-in) of rack space containing 25 2.5-in. disk drives.

"Primary and secondary storage data reduction are among the most in-demand technologies in IT departments, but the SMB customer has been shut out of the market until now by price and complexity," Matze said. "If we're successful, we'll be able to do for storage what VMware did for servers."

BridgeSTOR's AOS appliance consists of a Hewlett-Packard server with 10TB of disk capacity, along with two solid state drives (SSDs) for database tables in order to speed data retrieval. The appliance has its own encryption for data at rest or for replicating data to the cloud. While the appliance has 10TB of capacity, the native deduplication and compression algorithms allow the box to present 30TB of capacity to application servers through a thin-provisioning application.

"We don't require the customer to buy all 30TB up front. We'll start out with nine disks and as they run out of capacity, the thin provisioning (software) will alert them and they can buy an additional licence," Matze said.

Thin provisioning is a mechanism by which storage capacity is allocated on an as-needed basis to application servers. By using thin provisioning, storage administrators can tell an application server it has more capacity than it actually does.

The AOS appliance can use the block-level iSCSI transport protocol or the Common Internet File System (CIFS) file level protocol for data connectivity. The appliance is currently optimised for Microsoft Windows applications.

BridgeSTOR's AOS appliance can use its own deduplication and compression algorithms, or they can be turned off in favor of third party applications. For example, an AOS appliance running Backup Exec would use Symantec's deduplication algorithm while running BridgeSTOR's compression at the same time. If the appliance was running Microsoft's Data Protection Manager, which doesn't have deduplication or compression, it would run its own native algorithms.

BridgeSTOR plans to sell its appliances through resellers and not by direct sales to end users.