Nimbus Storage Appliances Unify SAN/NAS, SAS/SATA


Nimbus Data Systems aims to unify SAN and NAS architectures in a new series of unified IP storage appliances, and the company is depending on channel partners to bring the products to market.

The San Francisco-based storage vendor on Tuesday unveiled two new appliances, each of which offers meets a range of storage requirements in one device, CEO Thomas Isakovich said. The appliances can be used as an iSCSI SAN array and as a NAS appliance using Gbit or 10-Gbit Ethernet, he said. They can be simultaneously configured with SAS drives for primary storage and with SATA drives for nearline storage for migration of data between the two.

"We are the first to support SAS and SATA in a single enclosure," Isakovich said. "And we are the first to do iSCSI with 10-Gbit Ethernet."

Several vendors have been working to join SAN and NAS architectures in one appliance. SAN vendors such as EMC and Hitachi Data Systems offer NAS gateways, which allow files to be served from a SAN array as if they were on a NAS appliance.

Other vendors are uniting iSCSI and NAS on a single appliance. That was Microsoft's goal with its acquisition of iSCSI technology from String Bean Software earlier this month. Open-E, a German software developer, is developing modules to turn industry-standard servers into iSCSI/NAS appliances. And Network Appliance's FAS storage family combines iSCSI, NAS and Fibre Channel connectivity.

Nimbus Data Systems' new appliances are based on its HALO 3.0 software, which unifies iSCSI SAN and CIFS and NFS NAS protocols. With the software, data can be migrated between SAS and SATA storage, depending on customer requirements, Isakovich said. The software includes data snapshot and snap-clone capabilities that allow the copying of data sets for test or production purposes, as well as remote replication capabilities for disaster recovery.

The Nimbus MX4 and Nimbus 10G appliances support up to 48 integrated host ports plus on-demand capacity from 1.5 Tbytes to 55 Tbytes. They also include a built-in IP switch for quick installation at the customer site, Isakovich said. The only difference between the two models is that the MX4 has four Gbit Ethernet ports, and the 10G includes Gbit and 10-Gbit Ethernet ports.

The appliances are expected to ship exclusively through solution providers starting in April, which represents a big change for a vendor that has typically relied on direct sales, according to Isakovich.

"We have no direct sales for the new appliances," he said. "We are now developing a deal registration program and online configuration tools, which will be ready when this product is available."

Street prices for the appliances, with 3.5 Tbytes of capacity and a three-year, on-site support contract, are expected to run about $35,000.