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January 4, 2008
Vol.30 Issue 1|
Page(s) 1 in print issue
Storage Under The Radar
These Lesser-Known Storage Manufacturers Offer A Big Bang For The Buck
As storage capacity and flexibility continue to demand attention in small and midsized enterprises, managers are scrambling to identify manufacturers that can deliver the perfect fit for their storage environments.
Although larger, well-known manufacturers often tout systems that can accommodate businesses of all sizes, SMEs can benefit by looking at smaller or lesser-known companies that understand the unique challenges inherent in smaller environments that are fueled by smaller budgets. Heres an inside look at several smaller storage manufacturers that SMEs should get to know.
In 2001, Nexsan Technologies (www.nexsan.com) released its first product, the ATABoy, showcasing the companys early knack for innovation. Instead of being a RAID controller designed for SCSI or Fibre Channel disk drives converted for ATA drives, the ATABoy was a RAID controller that was designed from the ground up for ATA drives, taking into account those drives specific capabilities and characteristics. Over the years, Nexsan has continued to push ATA and SATA technologies in new directions.
This focus on ATA and then SATA technology innovation was driven by an insight and vision into an emerging customer need and problem, explains Bob Woolery, senior vice president of marketing at Nexsan. From their experience in the tape storage business, Nexsan founders understood that much of customers data on primary storage systems was inactive. In fact, up to 80% of all data was static or persistent.
Yet, Woolery says primary storage systems using Fibre Channel and SCSI technologies can range from $3,000 to $10,000 per terabyte when factoring in hardware, software, and services for installation and maintenance. Tape systems, on the other hand, tend to lack the reliability and performance attributes of disk-based systems.
Nexsan sells its products through VARs and OEMs, and systems integrators have deployed more than 16,000 systems worldwide to more than 5,000 end users. We are focused on SMEs that face the same challenges of storing growing volumes of data and managing it over longer periods of time, yet have limited access to new technologies and high-end solutions—many of which have been priced or designed beyond their means, Woolery says.
Founded by a handful of storage veterans in 2002, the management team for ioStor (562/777-3488; www.iostor.com) has more than 10 years of experience in the research and design of storage technologies. According to Marketing Manager Billy Zou, that team has pioneered technologies in the early generation of hybrid storage systems, including PowerPC RISC processor-based IDE-to-SCSI and IDE-to-Fibre RAID subsystems.
Today, the company is geared to meet an increasing requirement for storage in the SME sector and fill the gap between the cost of enterprise storage systems and the budgets of SME customers. To meet those needs, the ioStor Web site enables easy navigation, simple terminology, and useful tutorials that can help to smooth the process for online storage product ordering.
The management team also believes the companys ability to lower manufacturing cost overseas while maintaining assembly and integration in the U.S. will further benefit the targeted user groups, Zou says. In addition to the exceptional value that ioStor.com brings to the customers, the company also provides differentiated product offerings and carefully designed protection plans in each shipped ioStor box.
With a core competency in IP-based storage architecture, ioStor brings enterprise-class RAID hardware features to the desktop form factor to meet the growing demand from the SME sector, Zou says. All ioStor storage systems come with a standard service pack that includes up to three years of customer service and labor support, unit exchange service, advanced parts replacement, and loaner unit protection.
Named for a trout fly, StoneFly (www.stonefly.com) launched in 2000 behind the strength of a new form of iSCSI-based data storage technology and has since focused on the development of cost-effective SANs. Although it still does business under the StoneFly name, in early 2006, the company was acquired by Dynamic Network Factory (www.dy
namicnetworkfactory.com), a maker of high-performance NAS, SAN, RAID, and iSCSI systems.
Our goal with the acquisition was to make the company stronger than ever by building upon its proven IP SAN expertise while expanding its OEM and reseller channels in the U.S. and abroad where demand is high for reliable, scalable, and affordable iSCSI storage, says Mo Tahmasebi, president and CEO of Dynamic Network Factory.
StoneFly has developed its IP SAN-based Storage Concentrators and the StoneFusion Operating System with midsized businesses in mind. The company's three core Concentrator product lines feature the aforementioned StoneFusion, an IP-based, block-level provisioning appliance that centralizes storage management, control, and monitoring of logical storage volumes.
According to StoneFly Product Manager Jame Ervin, the companys IP SAN systems offer a broad range of deployment options and many expansion scenarios. They can scale vertically or horizontally, giving customers the choice of scaling performance and/or capacity, depending on their requirements, Ervin says. In addition, the Storage Concentrators were designed with ease of use in mind and are easily deployed and configured. Our IP SANs can be deployed in as little as 15 minutes, depending on how many servers will be connecting.
by Christian Perry
Great Potential |
One-size-fits-all storage systems can work for some enterprises, but for others, they can prove unwieldy. In order to more accurately meet customer needs, Sans Digital (562/801-2888; www.sansdigital.com) has teamed with industry leaders to create off-the-shelf or fully customized solutions that can satisfy a wide variety of uses, including audio-video editing, data backup, surveillance system, database storage, imaging, file serving, and others.
The companys product lines include AccuRAID, which features SCSI U320 or Fibre Channel 4Gpbs to SATA RAID subsystems with up to 16-bay, hot-swappable SATA drive trays, dedicated RAID 6 engines, and a redundant power supply. Also available are the MobileSTOR products, with interchangeable SATA tray designs and cableless backplane in compact storage products with varied interfaces and sizes; TowerRAID, a compact and easy-to-install 4-bay SATA enclosure; and AccuNAS, Linux- and Windows-based NAS rackmounts for SMEs and larger enterprises.
Sans Digital offers free, comprehensive support on all of its products. The company utilizes a wide network of distributors and resellers, including ASI (www.asipartner
.com), TigerDirect.com, Newegg.com, eCOST.com, Mwave.com, and many others.