DataGravity enhances security features in Version 2 of data-aware storage platform

DataGravity, which is available to the Canadian channel through Ingram Micro, is run by the team who created Equallogic, and offers data security, search and data protection in a single storage platform.

File Analysis Public 5x4 HiRes 600NASHUA, N.H.-based DataGravity has announced the DataGravity Discovery Series V2, the second generation of the product it first brought to market last year to integrate data security, search and data protection in a single platform. New data security features highlight the changes in the Version 2 release.

The company, which is three and a half years old, is run by co-founders Paula Long and John Joseph, who previously built Equallogic and sold it to Dell.

“We make an appliance which is sold to midmarket organizations exclusively through channel partners,” said Jeff Boehm, DataGravity’s VP of Marketing. “We are all about data aware storage, in which we not only store your data but can tell you what’s inside it, so you can better use and protect it.”

Boehm said that typical storage architecture is built for one thing – to ingest data, store it, and serve it back up.

“To deliver high reliability, they use two controllers, and the function of the second controller is limited to waiting for the first one to fail, which it seldom does,” Boehm said. “We have done something different. We turn that secondary controller into an intelligence harvester. It will also take over in case the first one fails, but in addition, it looks inside the data stored without affecting performance, and no one else can do that. It can tell you if a document contains a Social Security number, or if it was written by a specific person.”

Since the first generation of the product shipped last October, Boehm said that customers had been focusing on sensitive data management, because the appliance was uncovering confidential data in places they didn’t expect to find it.

“In one case, a government organization in the southeast U.S. found that taxpayer ID information had been inadvertently exposed,” he said. “In another case, a school system had set up shares for students to store work, and the appliance found the students were storing their MP3 collections there as well. The customer didn’t know that before, and is now data aware.” This data awareness capability has made the DataGravity product a vertical-specific one, with verticals like legal, SLED, and manufacturing being especially important.

The enhancements in DataGravity Discovery Series V2 focus on giving companies more tools and flexibility to better protect sensitive data.

“Version 2 expands the Define-Detect-Defend we originally introduced, so that customers can now define their own sensitive data tags,” Boehm said. “Out of the box, Version 1 provided a library of company- and domain-specific tags like credit card and Social Security data that customers could identify. In Version 2 we have expanded that library with other classifications like phone numbers and Date of Birth, but more importantly, customers can now define their own tags.”

Another change was implemented to deal with false positive issues, where a non-sensitive document like marketing collateral might contain a mockup that the system would define as sensitive data.

“Version 2 now has the ability for an audit user to go in and remove that tag from the document,” Boehm said.

Content and tag alerting, which provides automated email alerts that provide proactive notification when and where sensitive information is stored and how it’s being handled, has also been enhanced.

“You can be alerted to take action more readily, or take specific actions,” Boehm said.

DataGravity has also added Management Packs for VMware vRealize Operations and Log Insight, which contain plug-ins to accelerate visibility, troubleshooting and resolution of data privacy, security and compliance issues.

“Nobody else can give the level of integration of third party management systems that we do,” Boehm said. At the present time, the number of these third party integrations is limited, but that will change.

“We work most closely with VMware because most of our customers are VMware customers, but we are still a young company with a limited number of integrations,” he said. “We will expand the integrations in the future, as we do have the openness to integrate with any vendor.”

DataGravity’s newness is also why they are focused at the present time on the midmarket. The three appliances range from the DG1100 with 18 TB at $USD 45,000, to the DG2200 with 48 TB and $75,000, up to their top of the line model, the 96 TB 2400, which has a $95,000 MSRP.

“While ultimately data awareness is vital to any organization of any size, we are a young company, and at this stage, we can’t try to be everything to everybody,” Boehm said. “We need to focus. The midmarket aligns with our go-to-market strategy, which is based on mid-market resellers, and the size of our appliance’s footprint.” While the technology would be great in the enterprise, the maximum model size of 96 TB is too small for larger companies. Similarly, while many SMBs who store sensitive data could use the technology, the entry level price of $USD 45,000 is a little hefty for many smaller businesses.

DataGravity has about 150 resellers across North America, and while they sell primarily direct to resellers in the U.S., they also use Ingram Micro’s Promark unit for the U.S. government, and use Ingram Micro Canada north of the border. Their Canadian channel presence is good, with regional networks of resellers across the country.

The three models of second generation DataGravity appliances are available now.