Big Storage For Small Biz

Just because we call some businesses small doesn’t mean they don’t rack up a lot of data. Ask Network Appliance, which created a new business unit to sell a lot of storage to small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

The storage systems vendor celebrated the new division with its first appliance, the StoreVault S500, which securely stores a lot of files for SMBs that expect to see their data grow.

By dipping a toe in the SMB market, NetApp aims to show it is going after rivals like EMC, HP and even partner IBM like never before. Yankee Group said it expects the storage systems market for SMBs represents a $7 billion market opportunity in the U.S. over the next several years.

NetApp’s new StoreVault S500 uses the vendor’s Data OnTap operating system to handle data stored in major protocols, such as network-attached storage NAS),
iSCSI SAN, and Fibre Channel) (FC) SAN.

This flexibility is appealing to customers who have previously purchased multiple boxes to handle file and application storage; customers no longer need separate boxes for Fibre Channel, iSCSI or NAS storage. “The SMB customer no longer has to be confused about NAS or SAN &#151 we do both,” said Sajai Krishnan, general manager of StoreVault at NetApp.

“Customers have a lot of storage attached to various servers, and it’s difficult to figure out where storage is fully utilized with what server, or where it is underutilized.” Krishnan said the S500 can help customers better reign in the storage in their business.

The machine is scalable to six terabytes and works with either 250 or 500 gigabyte SATA drives. Drives can be changed on the fly without disrupting system operations.

The S500 also includes data-protection utilities such as RAID-DP to guard against dual drive failure and predictive failure analysis to anticipate drive failures and allow them to be replaced without powering down the machine. NetApp has also included its patented Snapshot technology for logging as many as 250 Snapshot images, as well as SnapRestore for real-time data restoration.

Available now, StoreVault S500 costs roughly $5,000 for starters and is being sold in the U.S. from StoreVault resellers. Specific pricing is available directly from StoreVault VARs.

StorageIO analyst Greg Schulz said the S500 is an example of the new trend for SMB-based storage solutions. In this movement, block and file and storage uses NAS, iSCSI and FC to meet different application and service needs while supporting what have been traditionally enterprise-class features, including snapshots, remote mirroring and replication.

The analyst also said the S500 harkens back to about 10 to 11 years ago when the company started out with what today would probably be considered an SMB-focused appliance. “Hence, NetApp has returned to its basic DNA roots to open a new front in the SMB battle for storage spending while continuing to expand on the enterprise front,” Schulz said.

NetApp has been busy of late, unveiling products across its lines to thrust its competitive iron further into the fire. In May, the company unveiled the high-end FAS6000 arrays to make it clear that it is gunning for more SAN market share. And the Sunnyvale, Calif., company followed up that launch two weeks ago with a storage hardware/software combination for high-performance computing.

Adapted from

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