Wasabi Gets Hotter With Addition Of iSCSI Initiator


Wasabi Systems, one of a handful of software developers that enable custom system builders to turn commodity server hardware into storage appliances, has added an iSCSI initiator to its NAS appliance software.

The Wasabi Storage Builder series of software is built on the NetBSD kernel and is flash copied onto a disk-on-module device that plugs into an IDE slot on a server motherboard. After the device is plugged into the slot, the installer turns on the server to boot the storage operating system to automatically configure the server as a storage appliance.

Wasabi currently offers two versions of its software. Wasabi Storage Builder for NAS automatically configures a commodity server as a NAS appliance, while Wasabi Storage Builder for IP-SAN configures the server as an iSCSI array, said Jim Schrand, vice president of marketing at Norfolk, Va.-based Wasabi. The new version, expected to ship this month, includes the iSCSI initiator at no additional cost.

With the iSCSI initiator, custom system builders can create either a standard NAS appliance with its own integrated storage, or a NAS gateway that connects to other storage arrays over an IP network to serve the files on those arrays to users across a LAN, Schrand said.

Custom system builders who have used the Wasabi technology called it a great solution for building entry-level storage appliances.

Barron Mertens, CEO of DSG Storage, a London, Ontario-based integrator of NAS and iSCSI appliances using the Wasabi software, called it the most elegant solution because of its efficient use of the NetBSD platform.

"We like what they are doing," he said. "Wasabi has about half of the NetBSD kernel development team, so they can modify the kernel without having to share the modifications."

However, Mertens said, because of the NetBSD-based code, the Wasabi software is more limited in terms of hardware support than similar offerings from Munich, Germany-based Open-E, which bases its software on Linux. He also said that the efficiency of the NetBSD code is lost when the appliances are used with higher-performance applications.

The NAS and the IP-SAN versions of the Wasabi software are available in entry, SMB and enterprise versions via distributors such as Bell Microproducts. End-user list prices start at about $495.