NetApp Solidifies SMB Presence with StoreVault S500

The company's new storage appliance offers NAS iSCSI and Fibre Channel connectivity in a single box and scales to 6 terabytes.

Network Appliance has made good on its promise to introduce a storage appliance specifically for the SMB market.

In a move many say will help the Sunnyvale, Calif., company better compete with rival EMC, NetApp has introduced StoreVault S500, a low-cost device that offers NAS (network-attached storage) iSCSI and Fibre Channel connectivity in one box.

StoreVault S500 is geared toward smaller businesses with four to 50 servers requiring require .5 to 3 terabytes of data storage, and which have budgets of less than $20,000 per year to spend on storage products and services, according to Sajai Krishnan, general manager for NetApps StoreVault division.

StoreVault S500 runs on NetApps Data OnTap operating system via the StoreVault Manager user interface. The system, which scales to 6TB, is compatible with either 250 or 500GB SATA (Serial ATA) drives, and drive can be added or removed without taking the system down.

Security is provided through RAID-DP, which prevents dual drive failure and offers predictive failure analysis; NetApps Snapshot technology, which allows fast backups and up to 250 snapshots; and SnapRestore for fast restores. Auto-pilot storage provisioning allows for simpler capacity planning.

StoreVault S500 is supported by Microsoft as an iSCSI array and supports the Microsoft iSCSI Software initiator.

Although StoreVault S500 is NetApps first true foray into the SMB (small and midsize business) space, it is similar in some ways to the companys FAS200 series, priced slightly higher and mainly aimed at branch offices of larger organizations.

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Referring to the FAS200 series, "Thats probably overkill for SMBs," said Brad Nisbet, program manager in the storage systems division of IDC of Framingham, Mass.

The company is so serious about making inroads into the SMB market that it has created a new business unit, called StoreVault, to focus on SMB business. The StoreVault division has its own engineering, support, sales, marketing, systems and operations groups, focused on delivering the capabilities needed in the SMB market. The company plans to introduce other products through this division aimed at SMB customers, Krishnan said.

Since most of NetApps investment has revolved around the enterprise, dedicating an entire new division to the SMB market is a good move, and one that will help it compete against competitors like Hewlett-Packard, Dell and EMC, Nisbet said.

Initially, StoreVault S500 will support only NAS and iSCSI, but Fibre Channel connectivity will be added this fall. To help customers make the transition, NetApp has partnered with QLogic to offer the FC Starter Kit, which allows StoreVault users to start with NAS or iSCSI SANs (storage area networks) and scale to Fibre Channel without buying a separate network storage system.

StoreVault S500 starts at about $5,000 for the base model with 1TB, consisting of four 250GB drives. It is available immediately through NetApps resellers.

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