Nexsan is adding a separate iSCSI head that can attach to any of its other storage arrays to make them part of an iSCSI SAN.
The company's new iSeries, which is not to be confused with IBM's System I, which was formerly known as iSeries, works in conjunction with Nexsan's Beasts or Boys series of storage arrays to give them iSCSI capabilities, said Bob Woolery, senior vice president of marketing for the vendor.
The iSeries follows the introduction last year of Nexsan's Edge appliance, which added NAS capability to its arrays.
By adding an iSeries iSCSI gateway to a SASBoy, SATABoy, SASBeast or SATABeast array, solution providers give their customers enterprise-class SAS and SATA storage support along with the company's AutoMAID technology for spinning down inactive hard drives to save power, Woolery said.
It also provides such storage services as virtualization, snapshots, replication, realtime mirroring and data migration, all with no additional software or license cost, he said.
For high availability, the iSeries storage gateway is fully redundant, and includes automatic failover and failback features.
The iSeries itself has no integrated storage, but its performance and scalability both increase as additional storage is connected to it, he said.
There are two models. The 200i has up to four iSCSI and two 4-Gbit Fibre Channel ports, and scales to 500 TB of storage. The 400i includes up to six iSCSI and four 4-Gbit Fibre Channel ports, and scales to 1,000 TB of storage.
RADirect, a Mahwah, N.J.-based solution provider, did a prelaunch installation of Nexsan's iSeries appliance with the Spokane, Wash., school district, said Uri Zilberman, president of the VAR.
The district has a growing requirement for storage capacity, but cannot afford to pay the premium many vendors require to have intelligence in every storage device, making a product that connects to existing storage ideal, Zilberman said.
"Things like scaling and disaster recovery are complex," he said. "Other vendors add such features when building their arrays. But with a gateway architecture, the cost of such features is not built into each array."
Nexsan's products in general are bullet-proof and much more affordable than those of its competitors, said Michael Fanelli, partner at TreTempo, a Dallas-based solution provider and Nexsan partner.
"With the iSeries, you just throw an appliance on top of Nexsan's SATA and SAS storage, and the price-performance ratio is great."
Woolery said the iSeries currently connects only to Nexsan storage arrays, and that future versions may be able to connect to non-Nexsan storage as well.
Zilberman said the iSeries can indeed connect to other vendors' storage, but that Nexsan is only being careful about the capability.
"With Nexsan's level of integration, you get the benefits with working with other storage," he said. "It can also be used with other companies' storage. But Nexsan wants to focus on its own solutions first, and do pretesting with other vendors' products to solve any issues before they show up."
Fanelli said that, in addition to its product, Nexsan is also one of the best channel-friendly vendors out there.
"They love the channel," he said. "They're flawless in their channel execution. Many other companies out there have great technology, but they may go out and offer great technology around me."
Both models of the iSeries are available now. Pricing for the iSeries solutions starts at $25,000, which includes a 200i appliance and a SATABoy array with 4 TB of raw storage. The price-per-TB can drop to as low as $1,400, depending on capacity, Woolery said.