In the open-source world, downloading free operating system software is commonplace. Literally hundreds of versions of Linux, Sun Microsystems' OpenSolaris and older systems such as FreeBSD are readily available on demand, if one knows where to find them. And in this brave new Google-enriched world, it simply isn't difficult to find anything anymore.
But in the data storage industry, things aren't quite that free and easy. So when The Station received word recently that a small company called Open-E, in Redwood City, Calif., had started offering free downloads of its Linux-based Data Storage Server software Jan. 7 and plans to continue through the entire month of January, we took notice.
Open-E Data Storage Server Lite -- which was four years in development -- is an all-in-one IP storage operating system with NAS (network-attached storage) and iSCSI (both target and initiator) functionality in a single-operation system that can be used in data centers of all sizes. There's a list of features and system requirements on the Web site.
Open-E's activated DSS Lite version is fully functional indefinitely and will be able to manage up to 2TB of storage, Open-E President and CEO Kristof Franek told The Station.
"For a lot of people, 2 terabytes is a lot of space," Franek said. "We're really not sure what this will ultimately bring to us, but we see this is a great opportunity for people to get to know us."
Franek added, "We really do want to get the word out, and the truth is, everyone wants to know about free storage management software that doesn't end after the 30-day 'free trial' period! This software will never expire."
So, if you're a storage admin or IT manager looking for some new storage management tools, you might want to try this and invest nothing. If you like it, Open-E has other products you also might want to check out, Franek said. And if not, well, enjoy the free gift.