Siafu Software wants to invigorate the entry-level iSCSI market with a new series of appliances sporting enterprise storage features and priced starting under $4,000. And it plans to give some of those appliances free to solution providers and their customers.
The Poway, Calif.-based company's new Siafu Swarm 100 series of storage appliances, expected to be officially unveiled next Monday, are 1U devices with capacities of either 1 Tbyte, 2 Tbytes or 3 Tbytes.
The company worked with Los Gatos, Calif.-based Hifn to add AES 256-bit encryption of both iSCSI SAN and NAS data, said John Matze, company president and CEO. "I don't know of anybody else who does that," he said.
Also included is the ability to not only take snapshots of the data, but also to mount those snapshots as a new drive letter, Matze said.
In addition, the Swarm 100s can replicate from one device to another in one of two ways: They can replicate on a file-level using the VSS (Volume Shadow Copy) feature of the included Microsoft Windows Storage Server operating system, or replicate data at the block level as those blocks change, Matze said.
Unlike many of the sub-$5,000 arrays from enterprise storage vendors such as EMC, Network Appliance and Hewlett-Packard, which have recently entered the small business storage market, the Swarm 100 was designed from the beginning as a full-featured small business appliance, Matze said.
"You can buy an HP All-in-One with 1 Tbyte of capacity for about $5,000 with no encryption and no block-level replication," he said. "And it has no mountable snapshots. Our Swarm 100 doesn't skip on performance. It runs at 95 Mbytes per second. You don't see that kind of performance from other boxes."
John Thome, vice president of Chi, a Cleveland-based solution provider, said the Swarm 100 is a good choice for many small businesses.
"Oh my God, with replication and snapshots all included along with encryption, why would you as a small business or a company with remote offices not have one?" Thome said.
Thome said he hopes Matze, who is a pioneer of iSCSI technology, shakes up the iSCSI market. "I like the product," he said. "I like the technology. And I'm selling it. If Matze is successful, we're going to be very successful."
To kick start Siafu's Swarm 100 business, the company is giving one free to customers who purchase one of its larger appliances through June 30. Customers who buy a Swarm 3100 with 3.75 Tbytes of capacity will receive a Swarm 100 with 1 Tbyte of capacity. A purchaser of a Swarm 3200 with 7.5 Tbytes of capacity will receiver a 2-Tbyte Swarm 100. And every Swarm 3300 with 11.25 Tbytes will come with a 3-Tbyte Swarm 100 during the promotion.
Matze said a customer can connect the free Swarm 100 to the larger appliance via a WAN to start replicating data between the two. "This is what iSCSI needs to get going," he said.
The Swarm 100 appliances are already shipping. The 1-Tbyte version lists for $3,995, compared to $4,995 for the 2-Tbyte version and $6,995 for the 3-Tbyte version. All sales go through solution providers.