Storage Start-Up StoneFly Offers IP SAN Appliances To Channel


StoneFly Networks, an IP storage start-up based here, this week unveiled its first products aimed at the nascent IP storage space.

The i1000 and i1500 appliances use iSCSI, TCP/IP and Gigabit Ethernet to pool existing and new storage assets over IP networks.

The goal is to allow solution providers to build secure, high-performance SANs quickly and affordably, said Jeffrey Schnabel, vice president of marketing for the company.

The new appliances use existing IT infrastructures and can be installed in as little as 15 minutes, said Schnabel. By installing only an iSCSI driver or an iSCSI host-bus adapter in the customer's servers, they can get up to 50 MBps of throughput while increasing CPU utilization by only 8 percent, he said.

The appliances combine an iSCSI router, a bridge between iSCSI and other transport protocols such as Gigabit Ethernet, and a storage virtualization manager into a single 1U rack-mount device. Included is 128-bit SSL security, said Schnabel.

All necessary software is included in the appliance, unlike other virtualization products, which require software to be installed on the host, Schnabel said.

The i1000 includes two Gigabit Ethernet and three SCSI connectors, with prices starting at $7,995. The i1500 is similar, but includes dual redundant hot-swap power supplies and local RAID mirroring, and is priced starting at $9,995. Both are available now.

Versions that connect to Fibre Channel devices are expected to ship next month, while native iSCSI models are expected this fall, said Schnabel.

StoneFly is planning to move the bulk of its products through the channel. "Solution providers can walk into previous customers and add SAN functionality without the problem or expense of Fibre Channel," Schnabel said.

The company has already signed up Tech Data as a master distributor, and has put in place a reseller organization capable of working with up to 80 percent of storage solution providers nationwide, Schnabel said.

The goal is to provide a channel-ready solution, Schnabel said. The company plans to offer partners Webinar-based training and a reseller authorization program. Tech Data will have tested and certified SKUs including the i1000 or i1500 appliances combined with storage systems from such vendors as Hewlett-Packard and IBM. "This is not just a box," he said.

To support clients, StoneFly is setting up an advanced call center to resolve questions from the solution provider and its customers. The company will also offer 24x7x365 four-hour on-site support, with parts depots located in 80 cities nationwide, as part of the price of the products, said Schnabel.