NetApp Brings Replication, Fibre Channel To SMB Appliance

StoreVault S500 SAN/NAS appliance

With the new StoreVault Replication software, NetApp's S500 can be used to replicate data on a one-to-one basis, or multiple units can replicate data to another unit in a central location, said Sajai Krishnan, general manager and vice president of the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based storage vendor's StoreVault Business Unit.

Data in the file format and the block format can be replicated using StoreVault Replication, according to Krishnan. "You can use it to get disaster recovery in five minutes," he said.

The StoreVault Replication software costs about $1,500 per server. To help spur customer and VAR interest, NetApp is offering the software at a 50 percent discount through the end of January, Krishnan said.

Merrill Likes, president of UpTime, an Edmond, Okla.-based NetApp solution provider, said data replication is such a hot topic that his company has already presold several S500 units with that capability.

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Though StoreVault Replication costs less than replication technology from storage software vendors such as BakBone Software or Veritas Software, it's deficient in one area: It allows replication only between StoreVault appliances, not between StoreVaults and other arrays, including NetApp's own NAS Filers, Likes said.

Still, that will be just fine for most customers, he added. "When you replicate data within the same product line, you get the fastest performance," he said.

It's important not to oversell the StoreVault Replication software to customers looking to replicate date between dissimilar arrays, Likes noted. "Chances are someone will get all jo-jo'd up about replication and will go out and get 50 StoreVaults and then find out they can't replicate to another Filer," he said. "But it's fine within the StoreVault line, as long as the customer understands this."

For customers looking to add Fibre Channel connectivity in addition to IP network and iSCSI connectivity, NetApp this week also introduced a low-cost Fibre Channel kit for the S500 based on technology from SAN vendor QLogic. The kit, which lists for just over $4,000, includes a 10-port QLogic Fibre Channel switch, two host bus adapters and software, Krishnan said.

The QLogic kit is the only NetApp-certified Fibre Channel solution for the S500, according to Krishnan, and it's aimed at the same small and midsize business customers. "If your customer is a SAN expert, this is not for you," he said. "But if your customers are among the other 95 percent of businesses that don't have a SAN, this is for you."

Since the introduction of the S500 earlier this summer, NetApp has already picked up about 250 new solution providers through the company's relationship with Tech Data, which is the exclusive distributor for the storage appliance, Krishnan said.