Datadobi

Start-Up’s Profile: B-Virtual, in Cloud Storage

Founded by former people of Datacenter Technologies
By Jean-Jacques Maleval on 2009.10.26

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Company
B-Virtual

Headquarters
Lochristi, Belgium

Born in
2008

Funding
privately-held, no VC

Executives

  • kristof_de_spiegeleer Kristof De Spiegeleer, investor and board member, currently director in cloud computing department at Sun, investor and board member at Orange Concept, Racktivity and A-Server (part of Zenith Infotech group), in the past founder and CEO at Qlayer, acquired by Sun in 2009, also a founding member of Thebe Technologies, 2consult, Hosbasket (acquired by Telenet) and Dedigate (acquired by Terremark), but mainly known as CEO, founder and CTO of Datacenter Technologies acquired by Veritas (now Symantec) - to get de-dupe technology - in 2005 for $58 million.
  • Wouter Van Eetvelde, co-founder and COO, who was also at Datacenter Technologies
  • Wim de Wispelaere, co-founfer, VP sales and products, who was also at Datacenter Technologies
  • Ringo De Smet, release manager, owner at Atriso BVBA, formerly senior software engineer at  EMC  


Number of employees

25

Technology
The company doesn't offer cloud storage as a service but proposes an efficient architecture for cloud storage service providers. Even if the startup is not profitable up to now, it has already some projects with OEMs for Intranet email and online backup.

To power storage clouds, its Distributed Storage System has the advantage to store more data with less disks. "1.5TB is enough for high availability, not 4TB", said Wim De Wispelaere. The objects, including a CRC for each ones, are cut in small parts with variable size and stored on several disks on the cloud. De Wispelaere speaks about 'rateloss codes'. B-Virtual uses Information Dispersal Algorithms that have been used in telecommunications to enhance the reliability of transmissions to satellites. "The original message is divided in a large number of message-blocks, typically a few thousands. These are converted to an even larger number of check-blocks. The algorithm allows reconstructing the original data from any set of check-blocks, independent of the order in which they are received. In telecommunications this allows the receiver to decode the original message correctly, even if a percentage of check-blocks would get corrupted or lost in transmission," according to the company.

No RAID is used to protect the data. Its built-in redundant data generator generates an unlimited number of data frames from the original data. These frames ares stored globally across multiple data centers, racks, storage servers and HDDs to meet the availability policy. Continuous data integrity check algorithms automatically detect data loss and silent disk corruption. In such event data will be be correccted without the need for operator intervention. Finally, it uses less capacity than the combination of RAID and replication and eliminates backup. The B-Virtual storage system offers block and file interfaces. Storage capacity can reach petabytes: to increase it, the user adds storage nodes automatically aggregated to the host pool.

bvirtual_540

Applications
Cloud storage services, backup, archiving, file and digital media storage

Market
Internet service providers and corporate network operators

Our Comments

Our opinion
Israel and Belgium are the two countries, outside USA, where you find the greatest numbers of storage start-ups. Remember FilePool, co-founded by Paul Carpentier sold to EMC for $50 million in 2001 and at the origin of Centera. The same Carpentier, currently CTO of Caringo, was CEO of HyperTrust, now a subsidiary of Telenet Holding. There is also Nomadesk, based in Sint-Martens-Latem, founded in 2004 and actually offering a way to share, synchronize and backup files. And finally two start-ups were De Spiegeleer was involved, both of them based in Lochristi (as B-Virtual, Hostbasket, Racktivity and A-Server), Datacenter Technologies and Qlayer.

This former team of Datacenter Technologies, based in the same building, is impressive. Its technology is really cloud storage with the data disseminated on all the storage devices of the company in several places for protection and not like RAID in one storage subsystem. This idea is used by other start-ups like Wuala or Symform aggregating all the local storage over Internet, or Kerstor for in-house storage.

We don't see B-Virtual becoming a big company, but probably sold in several months to a storage giant. That's the traditional method of Kristof De Spiegeleer, not currently officially an executive of B-Virtual but that could be CEO in the future.
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