NetApp Targets SMBs With Low-Cost Array

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NetApp's new StoreVault S300 is a follow-on to the StoreVault S500 the company introduced in May of last year.

The S300 and the S500 are essentially the same products, said Sajai Krishnan, general manager of NetApp's StoreVault Business Unit. The only difference is that, while both have iSCSI connectivity, the S500 also includes Fibre Channel connectivity, Krishnan said.

NetApp on Monday also unveiled Snap Manager for Exchange, a software that automates the quieting of Microsoft Exchange in order to replicate the data files, Krishnan said. The software has been a popular option on NetApp's FAS line of storage appliances, and the new version is now available for the StoreVault S500. However, it is not available for the S300. "It's more suitable for larger Exchange repositories," he said.

Customers can replicate data between the S500 and the S300 and the FAS line, Krishnan said. "So they can use the enterprise products in their data center, and put $3,000 units in remote offices to do replication," he said. "One click, and the backup is done."

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Doug Ford, president of The IT Pros, a San Diego, Calif.-based NetApp solution provider which has offered managed services since 2001 and which is now pushing more into storage and networking, said the S300 seems to be a good follow-on to the S500, especially for the small businesses his company serves.

"We plan to position it for accounts that are seeing growth in their storage, but who are not yet ready for larger appliances," Ford said.

Appliances like the S300 and S500 are important for small customers whose storage capacity requirements start to exceed the 500-Gbyte mark, said Ford, whose company is protected by its own S500 appliance.

One place smaller businesses are starting to use low-cost appliances is for disaster recovery, Ford said. Some of his customers have purchased two S500s, with one sitting in their office and the other in The IT Pros' Phoenix office, where data is replicated as soon as it is generated, he said. "Customers rent space, power, security, and bandwidth in our Phoenix office, and replicate to their second StoreVault there," he said.

Such solutions are priced in the $30,000 to $50,000 range, including the two S500 appliances plus full implementation and a four-hour parts replacement, he said. A similar solution involving two S300 appliances, or one S500 and one S300, is also possible, he said.

An S300 with 1 Tbyte of capacity is list-priced for about $3,000, compared to $5,500 for a similarly-configured S500, Krishnan said. Both are available only through Tech Data.