Overland Storage Intros Unified SAN-NAS Appliance With Dynamic RAID

Overland's new SnapServer DX series of storage appliances marks a significant platform change from the company's prior product releases, said Jillian Mansolf, vice president of sales and marketing for the San Diego-based vendor.

"We're focusing on storage utilization and storage management on a platform built from the ground up by overland," Mansolf said.

The SnapServer DX is a unified storage appliance, or a storage appliance which allows customers to store both block-based data as if it were an iSCSI SAN appliance and file-based data as if it were a NAS appliance.

The SnapServer DX also offers a choice of standard RAID or dynamic RAID, Mansolf said. Dynamic RAID allows customers to allocate storage to multiple storage volumes.

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"Traditionally, if one volume is full, you need a new box," she said. "With dynamic RAID, customers can grab capacity from anywhere in the pool, or shrink storage and put it back into the pool. IT managers don't have to spend time on RAID configuration. Or add a new drive, and in a few minutes the capacity is sucked into the storage pool."

The SnapServer DX comes in two models.

The SnapServer DX1 is a 1U rack mount appliance which expands to up to 120 TBs of capacity via add-on storage shelves. It is suitable for up to 100 concurrent users, and supports both dynamic RAID and traditional RAID. It also has an option for data replication.

The SnapServer DX2 is a 2U model which expands to up to 288 TBs to support up to 500 concurrent users. It also supports both dynamic RAID and traditional RAID, and includes the data replication capability at no extra cost.

Both models let customers mix and match hard drive types including SAS, SATA enterprise, or SATA desktop drives, Mansolf said.

There is a lot of need for a unified storage appliance like the SnapServer DX series, said Chris Leonard, a sales rep at HorizonTek, a Huntington, N.Y.-based solution provider and Overland partner.

"A lot of customers want a choice of NAS and SAN capabilities," Leonard said. "This is definitely good for the entry-level market. Customers in this market don't want an expensive NAS appliance but they do want tons of enterprise features."

The inclusion of replication in the SnapServer DX2 is also important as a lot of customers are already implementing replication in their SnapServers, Leonard said. "That will definitely save customers some money," he said.

Greg Knieriemen, vice president of marketing at Chi, a Cleveland, Ohio-based solution provider and Overland Storage partner, said unified storage is currently a hot topic, and Overland with its DX1 and DX2 are staying in front of customer demand.

Knieriemen also said that being able to expand RAID in real-time via Overland Storage's dynamic RAID capability.

"Normally, with conventional storage, you need to shut the system down to add disks, and then bring the system back up," he said. "A big benefit of dynamic RAID is the fact that you don't need to back up the RAID set and then restore it to add new disks."

Both Leonard and Knieriemen said the new SnapServer seems to have some capabilities to the latest small business Drobo storage appliance produced by Data Robotics.

Overland Storage's new focus on software-based features stems in part from the work of Geoff Barrall, the former founder of Data Robotics who joined Overland 18 months ago as CTO, Mansolf said. Mansolf is also a former Data Robotics executive.

The SnapServer is currently available exclusively through the channel, she said. List prices start at $3,999 for a 4-TB version of the SnapServer DX2.