Intransa Targets Smallest Companies with New IP SAN

Rasilient will design the product and develop the systems software, while Rasilient partner Inventec Group of Taiwan will manufacture the hardware.

By collaborating with a RAID storage developer known for focusing on modular, scalable solutions, Intransa is venturing down market in the IP SAN arena.

Intransa of San Jose, Calif., has struck a deal with Rasilient Systems Inc. of Phoenix to co-develop an IP SAN (storage area network) solution aimed at the smaller end of the SMB market. Under the terms of the agreement, Rasilient will design the product and develop the systems software, while Rasilient partner Inventec Group of Taiwan will manufacture the hardware. Intransa will market the resulting product, dubbed the IP2000, with optional StorControl management support, also available from Intransa.

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The IP2000, which will ship in volume by January, 2006, is a modular system with a Web-based GUI (graphical users interface). The system, in which every component is fully redundant, also provides mirrored cache and RAID 5, along with a pre-set of IP addresses on the controllers.

"We were aiming at simplicity," said Ernesto China, vice president of marketing and business development at Rasilient. "The customer simply has to plug it into their network, get a web browser thats on the same subnet, log in using the IP addresses that are provided, and then just follow six simple steps to get it up and running. They should be able to get it working in a SAN configuration very easily."

Intransas approach to the lower end of the market makes sense because it reduces the price by about half of what competing products costs —it lists for $5,700 per terabyte —without sacrificing functionality, said Greg Schulz, senior analyst at Evaluator Group of Greenwood Village, Colo.

"Unlike the other approaches, which are meant to be scaled, the IP2000 is more along the lines of what EMC did with the AX100, which is to take a regular controller-type architecture and scale it down, without giving up dual controllers, without having to cluster, without having to put other components in that would add cost," he said.

Although a similar product being introduced into the midrange market wouldnt raise an eyebrow, Schulz said that using this approach in the lower end of the market is noteworthy.

"Youve got the ability to have redundant controllers, for example, which is pretty much Jacks or better in the midrange space, but isnt necessarily down in the low end where cost is king," he said. "Often, the approach is taking things out to lower cost, as opposed to shrinking the cost so you can scale down the functionality or cost but still have all of the pieces you would normally expect."

Like Intransas other products, the company plans to sell the IP2000 using a two-tiered model. Overseas, Intransa relies on value-added distributors and resellers, while in the United States, it sells both direct and through resellers.

"This product probably has more of a VAR play to it, because looking at how people buy Exchange or SQL today, there is big VAR go-to-market piece of it that we think would be very complimentary to the IP2000," said Doug Rainbolt, Intransas vice president of global marketing.

Although this is the first collaboration between Intransa and Rasilient, both Rainbolt and China indicated that more collaborations are to come.

"Stay tuned.. Other products are likely to result from this partnership, targeting the small business space, and maybe even a little further up," Rainbolt said.

Along with the Rasilient OEM announcement, Intransa also announced that it will co-develop IP SAN products with Huawei-3Com (H3C), a networking and equipment manufacturer headquartered in Hangzhou, China. The products will be marketed under the H3C brand.

"China is experiencing incredibly fast growth, and the fibre channel incumbency isnt that big there, so there is a real openness to trying IP SANs" Rainbolt said. "It could be that China is the largest market of all in terms of IP SANs, given its industry and growth, so having a presence with a major partner gives us a major advantage."

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