Clearpace – Have Your Data and Archive it Too

Clearpace has a potentially lucrative question for you: how much of your data is really needed with any frequency at all? How much keeping it managed as if you needed it tomorrow cost you? What if you could take most of the 2 year old and older data out of your databases, compress it dramatically, put it on low cost storage and reduce your database sizes – and still be able to get to the data if you needed it? You can, Clearpace says, and this early-stage UK-based company already has customers to back their claim.

For much corporate data, even 6 months is a line that makes a difference – after that, it may not be used more than once every 6 months. That’s not true for all data – but it’s surprising how much meets that description. In many organizations, a hierarchical model drives some sort of information lifecycle model – there are older, cheaper, slower drives for older data, and the really old stuff goes on tapes or WORM drives. Well and good. Real changes to the data are rare, after all.

Maybe not so good. Storage isn’t free, and data is growing at an explosive rate. We still have the “data tax”: data volume-based software licensing, or pricing based on the processors used – which grow with volume, even for the same number of users and application requirements. Can we do better? Clearpace decided to tackle that question. Operating costs can be reduced, performance can be improved, exploding storage problems – including space and power – can be tackled. Many organizations can shut down legacy systems, eliminating licensing and maintenance costs that are a sizable piece of their budget. For that matter, why use an expensive DBMS to manage older data for “live” applications? The data could be retrieved using standard SQL if we get this designed right.

In 2007, Clearpace released NParchive, and started collecting early opportunities. Two years later, they have some 20 employees (mostly engineering), $4M in funding from a February 2009 round from UK venture firm Doughty Hanson and Dow Corporate Venture Capital, and partnerships with systems vendors HP, Sun and even EMC, and software partners including Informatica and Data Direct. They import data and DDL from Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, Sybase and others. They compress in the 40:1 range, sometimes higher, and provide standard SQL92 to access the data via ODBC, JDBC and ADO, enabling tools from Oracle, SAP, IBM, Microstrategy and others.

And they have over a dozen customers. Their go-to-market is thus far through partners exclusively. One can imagine their focus there will pay dividends rather quickly. One example: there is enormous opportunity for this technology in government, and one key partnership for Clearpace, OnPoint Technologies, has already put them in place with 7 states. It’s very early indeed, but little real competition in a space that will only grow with data. This is one to watch.

Published by Merv Adrian

Independent information technology market analyst and consultant, 40 years of industry experience, covering software in and around the data management space.

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