What Is Content Addressable Storage (CAS)?

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EMC Corporation has been on the cutting edge of data management for a long time. They're taking that expertise and applying it to new technology content-addressable storage (CAS). A hard disk can be configured to store fixed data and to address it with a unique content name, identifier or address using the CAS storage mechanism. EMC Corporation developed the DDM software that uses CAS. The system uses CAS to store files in a way that allows them to be identified by their contents rather than their location on the hard drive. This improves performance and makes it easier for users to find files they need quickly and easily. In the world of data storage CAS is also known as associative storage, content-aware storage or Fixed Content Storage (FCS). CAS is a type of data compression technique called dictionary-based compression. Dictionary-based compression involves using a "dictionary" (or list) to store all the values that appear in a given file. The dictionary can be created based on an algorithm or by having humans manually add common values. When a new value appears in the original file, it is compared against the dictionary and replaced with its appropriate entry if it exists. If not an entry for that value is added to the dictionary so, it can be recognized if it appears again later on. It is like a magic trick. Do you know how magicians can make a coin disappear? or drag a rabbit out of a hat? Well, CAS does the same thing for data. It stores each data object on a hard disk and assigns it a unique content address/identifier. Once the data object has been stored, it cannot be duplicated, altered, or deleted. A user or application must specify the data's content address or identifier to access it. So, if you've ever wondered how magic tricks work then CAS is probably at least part of the answer!

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