Open-E Deletes Whitebox Storage Products To Focus On Enterprise

storage IDE USB server

Until recently, the company had a complicated product line that tried to go after too many different markets, said Krzysztof Franek, (stet) president and CEO of the Puchheim, Germany-based developer.

For instance, the company offered an add-on module, or dongle, which custom system builders could use to build SOHO, small business, and enterprise versions of either NAS appliances, iSCSI appliances, or combination NAS/iSCSI appliances, Franek said.

The new line is now limited to a NAS appliance, an iSCSI appliance, and a combination NAS/iSCSI appliance, all specifically for the enterprise, he said.

With the focus on the enterprise, Open-E's dongles now allow capacity of the appliances to be a maximum of 4 Tbytes, 8 Tbytes, 16 Tbytes, 32 Tbytes, or 64 Tbytes, depending on the license key purchased. Previously, the maximum was 16 Tbytes, Franek said.

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Open-E also simplified its program for upgrading from either the NAS or the iSCSI version to the combination Data Storage Server version so that custom server builders can now do it using a software key instead of replacing the dongle, he said.

The dongles are also changing, Franek said. Instead of connecting via an IDE port, they now include a connector for internal USB ports. "We use internal USB so it can't be disconnected by accident," he said. "And USB is 30 percent faster than IDE."

James Huang, product marketing specialist at Amax Information Technology, a Fremont, Calif.-based system builder, said Open-E's strategy to pursue low-end markets helped open the door for the company to customers who like the performance of custom storage arrays using the vendor's dongles.

However, sooner or later the vendor had to focus on the higher end of the market in order to get better revenue, Huang said.

"So they came out with the new versions, and should be able to get better volume by simplifying the product line," he said. "When they went low-end, they were competing with products from companies like Buffalo Technology, Infrant Technologies, and Iomega. With the new models and their improved features, Open-E shows it can offer better products."