A British storage company has launched an attempt to take on the likes of EMC in the secondary storage market by offering a cost-effective approach.

Essex-based Tarmin Technologies has introduced GridBank, which it claimed would provide users with a smarter approach to secondary storage. The company said that traditional secondary stories limited the amount of end user access while Tarmin GridBank offers long-term archiving while retaining the ease of access of primary storage.

According to Mike Short, Tarmin's business development director, a lot of the focus had been on ease of use. "We're making it as simple as possible," he said.

Short said that the technology had been designed so that there is a service command layer, based on server grid, between the company network and the secondary storage layer, which is also based on a server grid. Underlying this is a management console to create storage clusters and to set a series for policies for managing the data. In addition, the system has an end user interface allowing individuals to access, search and retrieve data.

"By using services spread across a number of servers, we can share out the load," said Short. "Everything that we do is based on standard hardware," he added. At a minimum, GridBank requires a four server cluster and it uses any combination of secondary storage devices. The system starts from 4TB and goes up to 20PB (petabytes) said Short.

Pricing was not publicly available as the product was going to be sold only through the channel, but Short said that the company's products were competitively priced compared to the likes of Hitachi Data Systems and EMC, with whom the company was competing.

GridBank is still officially in beta, although the product has now been made available. Short said that the company had already signed up several UK users for the product.

IDC analyst Noemi Greyzdorf said that Tarmin was set to change how enterprises managed the life-cycle of file-based information. "GridBank delivers a comprehensive active archival software and intelligent storage foundation in one solution. End users will no longer need to purchase and deploy several points solutions from multiple vendors," she added.