Netgear Moves Into Midsize Storage With iSCSI Appliances


Netgear, one of the top developers of NAS appliances for small business customers, its moving upstream with the introduction of rackmount iSCSI appliances for SMB customers.

Netgear, San Jose, Calif., unveiled its first rackmount storage appliances to offer both NAS and iSCSI SAN connectivity at the CeBIT trade show being held this week in Hannover, Germany.

The new product introductions mark a significant change for Netgear, a company best-known for its SOHO and 'prosumer,' or professional consumer, storage products, said Drew Meyer, director of marketing for the company's Storage Products group.

The first new product, the ReadyNAS 3100, is a 1U appliance with up to four 1-TB or 2-TB enterprise-class SATA hard drives and dual hot-swap power supplies, said Mark Song, senior product manager of Netgear's Storage Products group.

Customers can use the device both as a NAS appliance and as an iSCSI appliance. It is certified as "VMware Ready" for virtualized environments, and is expected to get the Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V stamp of approval shortly, Song said.

The ReadyNAS 3100 also supports Gigabit Ethernet with redundant ports, making it usable for customers with up to 200 users. It also includes software to hand secure data replication to cloud storage providers, he said.

"For many SMBs, this could be their data center," he said.

The second new product, the ReadyNAS 4200, has many of the same features of the ReadyNAS 3100, but fits up to 24 TB of storage capacity in a 2U rackmount enclosure, Song said. It can be ordered with Gbit Ethernet or 10-Gbit Ethernet, he said.

Unlike many of the storage vendors moving into the SMB market from the enterprise side, Netgear is moving up from the small business side, Meyer said.

"We're moving upstream," he said. "We have nothing to lose. For companies like EMC, IBM, NetApp, Hitachi, and Hewlett-Packard, if they move into the smaller business market, they risk hurting their existing business."

Netgear has done a good job of helping solution providers cover the SMB storage market, said Stuart Ebner, managing partner at Proactive Technology Group, a Westbury, N.Y.-based solution provider.

"I need to cover the small to midsize market, and Netgear performs," Ebner said. "I can't remember a single system which failed. And it likes VMware."

PTG has been selling Netgear networking products for about 10 years, and has used the company's storage products when needed, Ebner said. "Netgear's move to high-end products leverages its success with its existing products," he said.

Both the ReadyNAS 3100 and ReadyNAS 420 are slated to ship by the end of March. The 4-TB version of the ReadyNAS is expected to have a street price of about $3,800, compared to about $4,700 for the 8-TB version. The ReadyNAS 4200 is expected to sell on the street for between $10,000 and $15,000.