Nexsan, RelData Offer Unified iSCSI/NAS/SAN Bundle


Nexsan Technologies and RelData are combining technologies in order to bring the channel a unified iSCSI SAN/NAS system, which the companies planned to officially unveil next week.

The new product offering combines the SATABoy SATA-based RAID array from Nexsan, Woodland Hills, Calif., and the IP Storage Gateway 9200 from RelData, Parsippany, N.J.

Nexsan's SATABoy controllers have dual 2-Gbps Fibre Channel connectors and offer sustained throughput speeds of up to 370 Mbytes per second. The array fits up to 14 SATA hard drives in a 3U rackmount space.

Nexsan released its first SATABoy array in June of last year.

RelData's 9200 allows access via iSCSI to data on multi-vendor Fibre Channel, SCSI and iSCSI storage arrays in order to unify a company's NAS and SAN infrastructures.

Rich Kuhar, area manager for Arkay Storage Solutions, an Akron, Ohio-based solution provider who has been putting the two vendors' products together on its own for some time, said he is not surprised the two got together on the bundle. "It's a good move for them for penetrating the channel," he said.

However, Kuhar said he is personally disappointed about the release of the official bundle. "It's giving away one of our secrets," he said.
Kuhar said that the bundle can be targeted at almost any size of customer. "Most SMBs can use this as the core of their infrastructure," he said. "We do Fibre Channel SANs, but I'm not sure there's any application out there that can't be run on iSCSI as long as you have the right products."

Several vendors have been coming out with storage arrays that can simultaneously connect as a NAS and a SAN appliance. Others, such as IBM and Network Appliance, have introduced NAS heads that allow part of the capacity of a SAN array to be used to serve files as if it were a NAS appliance. Meanwhile, Microsoft is adding technology it acquired from String Bean Software to its Windows Storage Server operating system to allow the building of combination NAS/SAN appliances.

Kuhar said that he has seen a lot of vendors bringing out such products. "But either the NAS part suffers or the iSCSI part suffers," he said. "Here, RelData has a logical volume manager, so there is no performance hit. And it offers a lower cost and higher performance than companies like NetApp."

Brendon Kinkade, vice president of marketing at Nexsan, said the bundle starts with a storage capacity of 7 Tbytes. "This addresses the sweet spot of the market," he said. "From a price-to-capacity ratio, this meets the needs of most customers out there."

The bundle scales to up to 5 Pbytes of data, said Stefan Schaeffer, director for RelData. He suggested a maximum of 15 Tbytes to 20 Tbytes per controller, but it could go higher, depending on application.
The Nexsan/RelData bundle includes one SATABoy array with a single controller and 7 Tbytes of raw capacity, an IP Storage Gateway 9200 with two 2-Gps Fibre Channel interfaces and two SCSI Ultra 320 interfaces, and software to do block and file replication, data snapshots and virtualization, Schaeffer said.

The bundle is available only through the channel. Both vendors are offering it with a list price of about $35,795 to their solution providers.
Kinkade said the companies will offer bundles featuring Nexsan's SATABeast and SATABlade arrays in the near future. The SATABeast fits up to 42 500-Gbyte or 750-Gbyte drives in a 4U space, and SATABlade arrays feature up to eight hard drives in a 1U space.

This is not the first combination SAN/NAS bundle for RelData. The company early this month unveiled a similar relationship with Dot Hill, Carlsbad, Calif., that combines that company's SANnet II Fibre Channel array with RelData's IP Storage Gateway 9200.