I wrote about RainStor back in December, just after they changed their name from Clearpace Software and moved their headquarters to the United States (though development continues primarily in the UK).
As a reminder, RainStor provides a highly compressed (typically 40 times but can be as much as 100 times) file system. A couple of notable features are worth mentioning. The first is that if you are using RainStor for relational data (typically, for application retirement or archival—RainStor is used within Informatica’s Data Archive [previously Applimation] product) then RainStor ingests the schema as well as the data.
It then supports schema evolution, so that you can make queries at a point in time (that is, you can look at the data exactly as it would have appeared at a particular point in time). Secondly, it includes a query engine that supports (translates) incoming SQL so that you can run conventional business intelligence environments against RainStor.
Ok, so that was the position. Now the company has released RainStor 4 and announced the completion of a B round of funding from investors that include Informatica, as well as new partners such as EMC (Atmos private cloud).
RainStor 4 provides new platform support, improved performance for both ingestion and queries (50% improvement in both cases) and, perhaps most significantly, a number of new compliance features. These last include legal hold, record level expiry and auto-delete capabilities as well as the ability to add comments and to audit these.
Perhaps most interesting, however, are the vertical sectors that RainStor is intending to address in conjunction with partners. The first of these is in telcos, where the company already has a partnership with Group 2000 to address the EU data retention directive but the company also sees scope in the United States and other areas where lawful intercepts are more of an issue, as well as for non-CDR data for monitoring SOX compliance for example.
The other two sectors that RainStor has identified are in healthcare and in financial services, where there are major compliance considerations in both cases. Another potentially fruitful area is for log management and the SIEM (security information and event management) markets where RainStor is significantly more efficient than the home grown file stores (which often don’t support SQL either) that many of the vendors have developed. Yet another possibility is to use RainStor for near-line storage in data warehousing environments, where it will be a lot less costly to store rarely used, historic data in RainStor as opposed to the warehouse itself.
All of these areas (with the exception of telcos) are works in progress and we will have to wait to see what transpires. However, what does seem clear is that RainStor is emerging as the clear leader in its space. While there aren’t many companies that specialise in this sort of technology it seems apparent that RainStor is definitely moving ahead of its rivals.