Primary Data hires Steve Wozniak, bids to “reinvent” storage

Storage startup Primary Data has just come out of stealth, teasing a new technology it hopes can virtualize the world’s data. The company claims it will reinvent “file virtualization” in the software-defined data center, and has just secured the services of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak to help make it happen.

Wozniak joins Primary Data from Fusion.io as its new chief scientist, and his role is to help the company build out its technology and court potential customers. He’ll be reporting to CEO Lance Smith and CTO David Flynn, both of whom also came from Fusion.io.

Primary Data has already raised some $63 million to fund its mission to release Big Data from traditional storage. It’s mission is a bit like how server virtualization led to the decoupling of computing from servers within the data center. The idea is to “virtualize data”, reports GigaOM, by “leaving the physical storage alone while virtualizing the metadata that correlates to the physical data. This means that metadata like file names, access control and permissions can be converted to software code so that Primary Data’s custom data hypervisor can track it.”

The startup offers an appliance built inside the data center, plus software deployed within the customer’s IT architecture. It claims the solution offers “unprecedented manageability, performance” by giving applications, clients and servers the ability to transparently access data while it’s intelligently migrated between direct-attached, network-attached, private and public cloud storage. Primary Data’s platform also meets evolving application requirements in real-time with an intelligent policy engine that automatically stores data on the most optimal resources across block, file and object storage.

“Data virtualization is the inevitable next step for enterprise architectures, as it seamlessly integrates existing infrastructure and the full spectrum of specialized capabilities provided by ultra-performance and ultra-capacity storage resources,” said Flynn to The Register.

“Innovations like wearables, digital assistants, and the Internet of Things are making computing more and more transparent in our lives, and for technology to remain accessible, we need to ensure data remains seamless as it serves us information,” said Wozniak in a statement. “Primary Data uses data virtualization to dynamically place data anywhere as applications demand. I’m excited to share our data virtualization platform with the world.”

Primary Data says it’s already tested out proof of concept versions of its solution with a number of unnamed customers, with general availability set for sometime next year.

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