Cisco’s Network Storage Targets Small Business

Cisco is perhaps best known for its enterprise networking products, but its latest storage offering is aimed at small businesses with a hundred employees or less. The launch of the Cisco NSS 300 Series on Wednesday is part of the networking giant’s Smart Storage family of desktop network storage systems that include integrated applications.

Beyond storage and management, the NSS 300 Series includes software to, for example, help a small business set up a Web server and design its own website. The system also includes on-disk data encryption — to protect hard drives even if they’re lost or stolen — and the WordPress publishing platform for blogging.

The NSS 300 network storage series is available in two-, four- and six-bay desktop network storage configurations with up to 12 terabytes of capacity using 2 terabyte drives.

The Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) Smart Storage line is distributed through the company’s network of dealers and value-added-resellers (VARs), which number more than 60,000 worldwide.

“They want a network storage solution that works with what they already have and lets them provide value beyond storage,” David Tucker, vice president and general manger of Cisco’s small business and technology group, told

As one example, he said some partners are offering video cameras as part of a physical security solution that can be integrated with Cisco’s networked storage. “There’s a wizard that makes it easy to add cameras to the network. You can place them around your building, and they’ll start recording as soon as there’s a motion stream,” he said.

That video is stored for later review or you can set it up to send a voice, text or e-mail alert anytime there’s a potential break-in.

Viewpoint Research analyst Cyndi Privett said adding functionality will appeal to small businesses if Cisco is able to keep the focus on simplicity, which she said it has done with its small business products thus far.

“Small businesses no longer want to be buy a separate printer, scanner and copier; they’re looking for multifunction products that can perform a variety of tasks with a minimum of headaches,” she told “It’s the same with storage and network management, because in small business, you have a limited number of people wearing multiple hats that want to be more productive with their IT investment.”

Cisco said all of its Smart Storage devices can be set up in minutes and are easy to configure and manage with a straightforward, browser-based interface.

In fact, Tucker noted that the Smart Storage series uses the same interfaces as the company’s switching and routing products. “It means our partners know how to use all these products, and that helps with after-sale support and keeping the customers happy long-term,” he said.

List prices for the NSS 300 Smart Storage series range from $913 to $5,625 depending on the model.

David Needle is the West Coast bureau chief at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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