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Many of the alternatives run the ZFS file system, an open source file system for which development is spearheaded by Oracle thanks to its acquisition of the original ZFS developer Sun Microsystems, Wilson said.
"I'm not sure what Oracle's plans are for ZFS," he said. "Many unified storage startups are based on ZFS. But it's a political risk, not a technology risk. ZFS is a great file system."
Starboard's technology is based on the open source XFS technology, which is strong in terms of parallel file systems, Wilson said.
"Starboard has a strong product offering at a fantastic price point," Wilson said. "And the company is 100-percent channel, and has a simple pricing structure. Its pricing includes nearly everything. No gotchas."
Wilson also likes Starboard's simple cache-oriented approach to deploying SSDs in its architecture. "It maximizes performance, and provides a performance boost without having to worry about cache complexity," he said.
Since Starboard came out of stealth, over 50 of its hybrid storage systems have been installed, Chen said. The company already has over 50 active solution providers in North America, and distributes its products through Annapolis Junction, Md.-based Promark Technology.
Wilson said there is a risk-reward balance his company considers when working with a startup vendor like Starboard.
"Once we do a demo of a product from such a vendor, most customers are satisfied with the solution," he said. "We need customers who are more progressive than most. There are a lot of SAN products in this space. But most don't include NAS. Starboard brings unified storage without the need to pay [a premium for better-known brands]."
PUBLISHED JULY 23, 2012