Open-E Moves Into U.S. NAS, iSCSI Appliance Market

NAS iSCSI storage

A handful of U.S.-based system builders already have built a limited number of storage appliances using the Open-E NAS module, said Krzysztof Franek, managing director of the company. "But what we are missing is market presence here," Franek said.

Open-E is no startup. It was formed about seven years ago in Puchheim, Germany, as a provider of technical support services for other vendors.

Open-E plans to focus exclusively on the system builder channel with its Open-E NAS modules.

Open-E NAS is a module with a built-in, fully configured Linux-based operating system. The module plugs into a standard server motherboard and turns the server on, automatically installing the operating system and handling configuration. There is no minimum order and no license fees, Franek said.

"It's as easy as using a GameBoy," he said.

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International Computer Concepts (ICC), a Wheeling, Ill.-based builder of file servers, has built a few NAS appliances with the Open-E NAS module.

ICC Vice President Ilya Stolyar said ICC has used both Windows Storage Server and Linux to build NAS appliances but has found Open-E NAS to be the easiest to use. "Just plug it in, and it's done," he said. "And it's the cheapest to use."

ICC NAS appliances built with the module have been purchased by a number of ISVs but are suitable for any application, Stolyar said.

Open-E plans shortly to introduce a new module that turns industry-standard servers into iSCSI target appliances with the same ease the Open-E NAS creates NAS appliances, Franek said. Such appliances work with any iSCSI initiators from Microsoft or the Linux vendors, he said. The product will be followed by a module that offers both NAS and iSCSI capabilities, he said.

The company plans to focus exclusively on the system builder channel, in addition to any OEMs that may sign up, Franek said.

It is bringing to the United States from Germany one of its most popular channel programs, under which qualified system builders can get one unit free-of-charge to try. "If you decide not to work with us but like the module, keep it," Franek said.