Storing Big 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 (SMB).

The storage systems vendor today 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 in the storage
market 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 — 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

NetApp has also included its patented Snapshot technology for logging as
many as 250 Snapshot images, as well as SnapRestore for real-time data

Available now, StoreVault S500 costs roughly $5,000 for starters and is
being sold now 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 is very deja vu from about 10 to 11
years ago when they started out
with what today would probably be considered an SMB-focused appliance.

“Hence, NetApp has returned to their 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.

The Sunnyvale, Calif., company followed that launch up two weeks ago with a
storage hardware/software combination for high-performance computing.

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