Datadobi

Company’s Profile: balesio

Swiss firm in primary storage reduction, different from de-dupe
By Jean-Jacques Maleval on 2012.03.02

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Company   
balesio AG
    
Headquarters
Steinhausen, Switzerland
    
Date founded
December 2008    

Financial funding
Privately held
    
Revenues and profitability
No figures disclosed; profitable
    
Main executives    

  • Daniel Bernard, CEO, who founded several other software businesses    
  • Christoph Schmid, COO

Number of employees
9
    
Technology
Native Format Optimization (NFO) is composed of a set of content-aware native optimization algorithms developed for unstructured file formats such as Office files, PowerPoint presentations, PDF files and images. Space reduction is achieved by finding and reducing redundancies and inefficiencies internally within the given file container. The original file format is unaltered and no decompression or rehydration is necessary.

Techniques employed to reduce single file sizes include intra-file object de-duple, object format optimization, object slimming, noise reduction, quantization adjustment, optimization of non-visual data, enhanced image encoding.    

Products    

  • FILEminimizer Suite: compresses images and photos, optimizes Office and PDF files
  • FILEminimizer Server: compresses PDF, Office and image files in JPG, TIFF, BMP, GIF, EMF and PNG formats directly on the file server
  • FMA-4800 Series Appliance: 2U appliance with 2x1GbE ports to optimize unstructured data on primary storage and inserted in the IP network

balesio_company_profile_540
    

Released dates

  • FILEminimizer Suite: December 2009
  • FILEminimizer Server: December 2009
  • FILEminimizer SharePoint: August 2010  
  • FMA-4800 Series Appliance: February 2011
  • FILEminimizer SDK: September 2010

Price    
Software starts at $1,200, FMA-4800 Series appliance at $19,200, based on project for SDK

Roadmap    
Deepening integration with both application and storage manufacturers; solutions to allow customers to reduce unstructured data volume in efficient way on NAS, SAN, file servers as well as providing infrastructure optimization solutions

Partners
EMC, HP (for Converged Infrastructure), IBM, Microsoft

Distributors and OEMs    
Direct distribution and via VARs; started recently with OEMs (NAS, SAN and server manufacturers)

Number of customers    
2,000

Main customers    
US Marines, US Army, IKEA, Crédit Agricole, SNCF, Audi, Trelleborg Automotive, Lidl, Hitachi, Siemens, L'Oréal, various universities and schools

Target market    
SMB to enterprises, universities, schools and organizations

Main competitor
Ocarina Networks, acquired by Dell

Our Comments

There is file and block de-dupe, independent of the data content. It is offered by around one hundred storage vendors, each one with its own proprietary process. The idea here is to analyze the data flow arriving and trying to find if the same part of data are already stored and then to replace them by a small index pointer. The percentage of reduction depends directly on the type of data. That's the way used by about all de-dupe companies (EMC/Data Domain, Exagrid, Quantum, etc.).

Generally it cannot be used for primary storage because it needs a lot of resources (processing, big cache).  Among firms in de-dupe for primary storage are balesio, BridgeSTOR, CaminoSoft, EMC (Celerra), Exar, GreenBytes, IBM (Storewize), NetApp, Oracle (ZFS), Permabit, Riverbed andTegile,

balesio' technology works differently, by software (on dedicated Windows server or VM) or through an appliance. A different algorithm has been conceived for each application. Theoretically you can get a better reduction because it's optimized for each one. But it needs more efforts as you have to build a solution for each application and it's quite impossible to embrace all of them. balesio of course concentrates on the main ones: PDF, Office 2010 and the majority of image files (JPG, TIFF, BMP, GIF, EMF and PNG). Another advantage of balesio's NFO: there is no change to file formats and it's transparent to applications, removing the need for the files to be rehydrated or decompressed. The company claims 50% to 90% reduction.

One company with this kind of content-aware storage optimization is Dell since its acquisition of Ocarina in 2010. It optimizes Office files, images and video (JPEG, MPEG, tiff, GIF, PNG), and compound documents (email, html, web pages, PDF, Zip, RAR, TAR), assessing 30% to 75% compression. For balesio, Ocarina's technology is "a weak concept: image optimization and deduplication of single elements across unstructured files requires rehydration in order to be accessed by the application or you need to have an agent on the client, a slow process."

NetApp also offers de-dupe for primary storage. But "it's not working well on unstructured files", said belasio. "And the compression is weak, impacts the performance and rehydration is necessary with a NetApp system."
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