BlueArc on Monday introduced a scaled-down version of its high-performance NAS storage product in a move to grab a larger share of the storage market and make it easier for solution providers to work with the vendor.
The company's Mercury series of NAS appliances uses the same proprietary operating system and scalable file system of its existing high-end Titan series, but is based on a smaller platform and comes with fewer high-speed ASICs and a built-in system controller to reduce costs.
The Mercury 100 can be configured in a cluster of up to eight nodes, each of which handles up to 2 petabytes of data, said Cameron van Orman, senior director of worldwide channels and alliance marketing for the San Jose, Calif.-based storage vendor.
The Mercury 50 can be clustered with a maximum of only two nodes, each of which handles up to 1 petabyte of data, van Orman said.
Both models include the BlueArc File System, a technology that allows up to 16 million objects to be stored in a single directory, or billions in a single volume for flexible storage expansion and management, van Orman said.
The Mercury appliances allow solution providers to expand their market from BlueArc's traditional high-performance computing (HPC) focus into a wider storage market, van Orman said.
John Bettenburg, vice president of the solutions group at North American Systems International (NASI), a Bloomington, Minn.-based solution provider and BlueArc partner, said his company is thrilled with the Mercury line's performance and is excited to take it to the commercial storage market.
"We're talking to many users out there with file data that has been spread out in what we're calling 'file server sprawl' or 'filer sprawl,'" Bettenburg said. "We think that, to consolidate low-cost and high-performance disk storage, this is going to find its way into many of the SME and SMB midmarket-type customers."
Jeff Coke, president and owner of VarData, a Rochester, N.Y.-based solution provider and BlueArc partner, said he welcomes the move by BlueArc into the wider commercial market.
"Because we're narrowly focused on BlueArc, we often come across deals where the Titans' price range keeps us out," Coke said. "There are several opportunities where we can expand our business with the Mercury products. We have customers who are happy with BlueArc, but its products have been pricey. This will allow us to expand."
As part of its Mercury launch, BlueArc is also expanding its reach to the channel with bundled pricing for the appliances in certain configurations, including a hardware-based RAID controller, disk drives and all the necessary software, van Orman said. The Titan appliances are all sold on a custom configuration basis, he said.
The company is also recruiting solution providers, increasing its deal registration bonus to 25 percent from the previous 15 percent, and offering its first discounted demo unit purchase program, he said.
The second half of 2009 will also see BlueArc hire channel-focused systems engineers, introducing its first tiered channel program, unveil an authorized service provider program and provide partners with an online configurator, he said.
The Mercury 50 list price starts at $45,000, while pricing for the Mercury 100 starts at $65,000.