Spent some time with Nick Pearce, a co-founder of Object Matrix, a UK-based software startup supporting commodity-based archiving.

Their MatrixStore product clusters off-the-shelf servers and storage to create a secure disk based archive. MatrixStore runs out of the box on Mac OS and will work with most Linux supported tin.

Commodity hardware and software
Archived data should not be tied to a specific storage platform. Proprietary formats or filesystems are an accident waiting to happen.

MatrixStore keeps the data on industry standard filesystems in the same format as on the client disk. The data will be retrievable even if the company has disappeared.

Platform lifecycle
Older gear can play in the same config as newer stuff. Roll old hardware out of production into the archive, and double its useful life. Upgrade in place, a critical consideration for archives.

Application-centric storage
MatrixStore is integrated with the recently released Final Cut Server from Apple. They provide life-cycle management of assets and metadata from ingest through archive.

The MatrixStore software stores the added FCS metadata using metadata operations supported by XFS on Linux. When ZFS is supported on Mac OS they plan to use its native metadata support as well.

MatrixStore also automates some tasks that usually require manual configuration, adding capacity, data redundancy, data authenticity and the like. Like Final Cut Server it’s designed for people who aren’t storage admins.

Cool pricing
They give away the first 15TB of software licenses away for free. After the first 15TB it’s $1000 per TB of protected content. There’s a pricing widget to help with configurations on their website.

The StorageMojo take
Digital archiving is a critical issue for content creators. Nick – who had worked at EMC – made choices that will become de rigueur for deep archiving as people come to understand the issues:

  • Content in its original format
  • Commodity hardware
  • Upgrade in place
  • Pay as you go
  • Automate the small stuff

MatrixStore’s focus on Final Cut Server and their pricing model are both positives. Final Cut Studio has taken out a huge swath in the NLE market – over 1 million licenses sold – so the FC Server business should be a healthy one.

Their pricing transparency and unlimited-time 15 TB trial should also work well. All in all, an up-to-the-minute approach to the market. You might almost think they’re American.

Comments welcome, of course.