Overland Acquires MaxiScale For Scalable NAS Technology

Overland Storage has acquired MaxiScale, a startup developer of storage technology which is expected to give Overland the ability to help solution providers deliver scalable NAS architectures to SMB customers.

The acquisition of Sunnyvale, Calif.-based MaxiScale means a big jump in product capability for Overland, said Geoff Barrall, CTO and vice president of engineering for the San Diego-based storage vendor.

"Historically, we had no way to cluster our SnapServer appliances, or offer shared storage or failover," Barrall said. "But now we can tie them together with full file sharing across all SnapServers."

In theory, MaxiScale technology allows scaling of NAS appliances with no limits, although MaxiScale tested it to up to 250 nodes, Barrall said. However, he said he expects customers will not be scaling to that level any time soon.

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MaxiScale makes Overland the first storage vendor with the ability to offer scalable NAS infrastructures to SMBs, Barrall said. "No other products in the SnapServer category can do this," he said. "So we'll be the first to bring out this midmarket technology to SMBs."

Next: Overland To Compete With The Big Boys

MaxiScale's technology gives Overland the ability to take its SnapServer line of NAS appliances into more sophisticated storage environments similar to those now being served by Hewlett-Packard's LeftHand offering and with Isilon, Barrall said.

However, Overland will be able to compete at a price point other vendors will find hard to match, he said. "We're in the sub-$10,000 price level, and that's not a product you see today," he said.

For John Zammett, president of HorizonTek, a Huntington, N.Y.-based solution provider and long-term Overland partner, the MaxiScale technology gives the opportunity to get back into the scalable NAS market.

HorizonTek used to partner with LeftHand before it was acquired by HP, and was not able to work with Isilon because of the way it structured its channel program, Zammett said.

"We look forward to seeing the new technology and competing with products we formerly carried from LeftHand and Isilon," he said. "The entry NAS and SAN market is looking better and better for us."

Next: Taking Advantage Of Misfortune To Get MaxiScale

MaxiScale was a venture capital-backed firm with $25 million in funding. Barrall declined to say how much Overland paid to acquire MaxiScale, but hinted it was much less that that company's original funding.

"Building a storage company to scale to market is a very expensive and long-drawn-out process," he said. "We were the beneficiaries of an unfortunate situation."

MaxiScale's technology had yet to come to market, although it had been in beta testing with about 20 customers, Barrall said.

In addition to the technology, MaxiScale brings Overland a number of engineers and quality assurance personnel, many of whom Barrall said were colleagues of his in the past when they worked together at BlueArc, a San Jose, Calif.-based developer of scalable, high-performance unified network storage.