Pillar Data has produced a combined block and file serving storage system that saves data in specific disk areas to improve performance.

Called Axiom, the system splits ("strips") data and saves it across multiple disks. The outer tracks read and write data comparatively faster. Pillar says this enables it to offer multiple tiers of storage for data, like other information lifecycle management systems, but using only serial ATA disks.

Customers can choose to have file-serving functions only (NAS), block-serving functions only (SAN) or a combination of both. The SAN will be delivered in a few weeks. A later version of the product will add Fibre Channel disks to the existing SATA drives, increasing the tiering options.

Pillar said the technology offers faster access, greater capacity and significantly lower cost than competing systems. It has enthusiastic customer quotes to go along with the pitch: "Pillar sold us an enterprise storage system with seven times the capacity for about half the price quoted by a competitor," said Robert Moon, CIO at LeapFrog Enterprises.

Oracle boss Larry Ellison is the only venture capitalist backing Pillar. Oracle is well-known for wanting to commoditise everything in the Oracle environment, except Oracle's own database and application software. It has promoted Linux over other Unix and Windows. It has promoted its own clustering technology over hardware clustering schemes. And it has promoted commodity X86 processors over costlier RISC alternatives. It looks as if the next target of Ellison's cost-removing zeal is storage.

Read more about the Pillar Data Axiom system here. Product is available in the US now. No pricing has been given.