StoneFly Brings IP-SAN Cost Under $9,000

Rather than using Fibre Channel for building a SAN, San Diego-based StoneFly provides technology to build storage networks based on standard IP networks.

With the StoneFly ValueSAN, the company is looking to deliver a SAN with a price of under $10,000, said Bob Peyser, vice president of marketing.

The ValueSAN product includes StoneFly's Storage Concentrator i3000, an appliance based on a Dell Server with StoneFly's software that allows IP-based block-level provisioning of storage as well as centralized management and monitoring of logical storage volumes. The i3000 scales to 19.2 Tbytes of SATA capacity in a single node, and includes software for local and campus synchronous mirroring as well as for data snapshots.

Henry Cornelius, vice president of sales at Emergent Systems Exchange, a Minneapolis-based solution provider that sells new and used storage equipment, said that customers are often concerned about the performance of IP-based SANs, but that StoneFly has done a good job addressing those concerns.

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"Most of the concerns is FUD from big vendors like IBM, Network Appliance and EMC about performance," Cornelius said. "But after customers try it, they're happy. People that never thought they would deal with iSCSI or SATA get happy when they try it."

For instance, said Cornelius, he is in the process of replacing four racks of Network Appliance systems, for which a client is paying over $80,000 per year in maintenance costs, with a half-rack of StoneFly equipment that over three years will total less than that amount. "It's like the old days when you could replace a Cray supercomputer on maintenance savings alone," he said.

The StoneFly ValueSAN starts at a street price of about $9,000, including a Storage Concentrator i3000 appliance, six 160-Gbyte hard drives, and software to do synchronous mirroring, continuous data protection and data snapshots. Clients can add extra capacity, a second i3000 for clustered failover, and asynchronous mirroring and/or data backup software, Peyser said.

About two-thirds of StoneFly's sales go through the channel, with the other third going direct. However, with the new lower-cost bundles, Peyser said he expects up to 80 percent of sales to come through the channel.