OTG Adds Databases to Storage Repertoire

Several years ago, storage vendors introduced a technology—called Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM)—that helped to facilitate the automatic movement of so-called "aged" files from physical disk to tape and optical storage media. HSM was a good idea, to be sure, but only very few vendors—Legato Systems Inc. and Computer Associates International Inc. among them—were able to effectively mate it with relational database management systems (RDBMS).

With the release of its DiskXtender Database Edition (DXDB), On The Go (OTG) Software Inc. now expects to add its name to that list, as well.

HSM's biggest selling point has traditionally been the total-cost-of-ownership (TCO) and return-on-investment (ROI) advantages that it delivers. Using HSM, enterprise IT organizations can maintain frequently accessed data on fast physical disk subsystems and at the same time move less frequently accessed data to magnetic tape or to optical disk. This means that IT organizations don't necessarily have to invest in as many costly physical disk subsystems to accommodate their data storage requirements.

Although DXDB isn't strictly an HSM solution, per se, it's able to integrate with an RDBMS such as Oracle 8i in order to "virtualize" database storage and effectively segment data among physical disk, tape and optical storage media.

According to OTG Software product manager Mark Brando, whether they like it or not, today's database administrators (DBAs) often find themselves trying to manage ever-expanding storage pools.

"Database administrators typically don't want to be bothered by storage, so when the storage guys come along and install this product in conjunction with the database administrator, it makes the [DBA's] life a little easier because they don't have to worry about disk space," he points out.

In this respect, Brando says that DXDB can manage a variety of combinations of physical disk, tape or optical storage media without requiring application modifications or changes to the ways in which database queries are processed.

"Because it doesn't require any modification to existing database structures, users can access data without regard for how frequently it's accessed and without any changes to SQL queries or applications," adds Brando.

Its TCO and ROI niceties notwithstanding, OTG Software representatives maintain that DXDB's biggest selling point could be its scaleability.

"[DXDB] allows administrators to expand their storage to multi-terabyte and even to petabyte levels," says Jocelyn Johnson, director of strategic marketing for OTG Software.

Customers are impressed. Kirby Accardo, a VP of loan documentation with Whitney National Bank, says that DXDB was just what his company needed.

"OTG could do exactly what we needed—which was storage and retrieval—and we could grow into additional capabilities like workflow. With other products, it was all or nothing," he concludes.