Procom Bullish on Wireless NAS

New Taurus device combines wireless access point with networked attached storage and Web services capabilities.

Enterprise NAS vendor Procom Technology Inc. this week introduced Taurus, an early entry in what the company expects will be a new growth segment of the storage market: wireless networked storage appliances.

About the size of a hard-bound book, the new 802.11b wireless access point adds features of networked attached storage and an Internet server. At capacities of up to 250GB, the device offers a built-in firewall, Web-based management, Compact Flash authentication, and a variety of basic Web services such as hosting, e-mail and FTP. An entry-level version with a 40GB hard drive will cost $1,699, the company said.

"Were expanding our expertise into a whole new category," said Bill Long, Procom vice president of product planning. He said he expects similar product introductions from competitors around the end of the year. On the high-end front, the company recently demonstrated its NetForce 4000 Series NAS Filer and ProMirror Disaster Recovery Software at the Storage World conference. (For more information, see "Storage World Conference Digest: New Tech and Initiatives.")

One of several markets the company will target with Taurus is interactive kiosks. The intelligent device can still serve up cached content even when an Internet connection goes down, and its use of a standard 3.5-inch hard disk offers integrators plenty of space for rich content, Long said. "Its resilient to line outages."

Another potential applications for Taurus will be for presentations and corporate education, Long predicted. The unit is lightweight and with its standard antenna can support remote connections up to 600 feet. In a hall or office, the portable NAS could serve up additional materials or offer real time demonstrations to viewers. "And the heck with an outside line," Long said.

The Taurus supports Windows Server Message Block (SMB) file sharing as well as Network File System (NFS) for Unix customers. In addition, the device even provides AppleTalk support for classic Macintosh networks. The Taurus Access Point operates in 2.4-GHz direct sequence spread spectrum (DSSS) and supports transparent bridging and roaming capabilities.

Later in the year, Procom will offer a range of add-ons for Taurus including specialty antennas, Long said.

Earlier this spring, Sony Corp. introduced a handheld wireless NAS in Japan. The Linux-based FSV-PGX1 offers a smaller 20GB 2.5-inch hard disk drive of which 17GB is available for user storage. (For more information, see "Storage News Digest: Sony Unveils Portable WiFi Data Server.")