Storewiz has today two new appliances, the STN-6300 and the STN-6500, that it claimed were capable of compressing files on-the-fly without delays.

Data compression has previously been applied to segments such as tape backups or cross-WAN transfers to compensate for the limited capacity of the medium or to improve the transfer rate of a connection.

On-line, disk-stored data has also been selectively compressed using a variety of applications or OS features, but Storewiz claims to be the first, and for now only, vendor to propose appliances that promise seamless, transparent compression.

Storewiz said its appliances could squeeze around three times the amount of data without adding delays or making any changes to existing application servers and storage devices.

Its two new products promise an even higher compression ratio, up to 4:1 for databases and up to 3:1 for typical office files.

According to Storewiz its on-the-fly software compression adds negligible latency measured at 100 microseconds or less, and can actually improve storage access. The smaller data footprint delivered by compression makes the cache of existing storage devices more effective, creating fewer cache misses which translates in faster random access.

In addition to a 2U rack mountable form factor, the two new models have in common also a disk less configuration (their Linux based OS starts from a flash drive) with four 64-bit processors and the possibility to add a second unit for active-passive or active-active fail over.

Customers set the configuration options of the appliance, for example choosing the shares to compress, from a browser based client.

Files will be typically compressed when created or modified, but customers can activate a background application to comb for and compress idle files.

A separate application that runs on the most common platforms makes possible uncompressing data when a Storewiz appliance is not available.

The STN-6300, a unit intended for departmental or remote office deployment, mounts 4 Gbyte of memory and four Gigabit Ethernet ports that can be expanded to eight ports. By contrast the STN-6500 offers 6GB of RAM, can add up to 12 additional processors and start with eight Gigabit Ethernet ports with the option to add four more.

In the US, the starting price is $22,000 for the STN-6300 and $42,000 for the STN-6500.