Snap Continues Assault On Enterprise NAS Space

The $100 million acquisition melds two channel-oriented vendors into a single storage company with 1,600 employees worldwide and a full range of products, including semiconductors, host bus adapters, and SAN and NAS subsystems.

The new Snap Server 18000 NAS appliance scales from 2 Tbytes to 30 Tbytes, said Mark Pollard, vice president of marketing at the Snap Appliance division of Adaptec. The cost of storage using the 18000 starts at less than $7.50 per Gbyte, but can drop to as low as $5 per Gbyte as customers scale down in size, he said.

The appliance also includes dual Xeon processors with symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) capability for double the performance of previous models. It is the company's first appliance to offer SATA hard drives, Pollard said. The new appliance also includes iSCSI support, and has redundant hot-swappable components and nonvolatile memory to increase data availability.

The 18000 is scheduled to be released late this month.

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The 18000 compares favorably to some of the other higher-end NAS products offered in the channel, said Gavin Rosenberg, marketing director at Sunstar, an Inglewood, Calif., solution provider who works with Snap and Procom in the NAS space. "This will have some in-roads with folks looking for high-end NAS," he said.

For clients who expect storage to continue growing, the fact that customers can start off with 2 Tbytes and expand via JBOD (just a bunch of disk) modules is important, said Rosenberg. Still, he said, he can't imagine anyone putting 30 Tbytes behind a single NAS head.

While Snap continues to move higher-end with its latest products, the company will run into sales speed bumps, Rosenberg said. "[A sale] will take some time," he said. "It's not as easy to sell as a smaller unit."

Even so, Rosenberg has found Snap to be increasingly partner-friendly. "Snap is very easy to talk to."

The one problem Rosenberg does have with Snap is that the vendor can be quick to drop its prices to make a deal. This might be good in specific instances, but not when several solution providers are bidding on a deal. These situations emphasize the importance of using the company's dealer registration program, Rosenberg said.

Pollard said Snap launched its dealer registration program this past April. Solution providers who take advantage of the program can earn a 15 percent bonus margin on registered deals, on top of their standard 10 percent discount, he said.

Also new from Snap is a free minor upgrade to its GuardianOS NAS operating system. Version 3.1 now supports SMP and nonvolatile memory, full network data management protocol (NDMP) for flexible backups, and iSCSI initiators for Windows, Solaris and Red Hat Linux operating systems, Pollard said.

The company also released version 2 of its Server-to-Server Synchronization software. The new release allows asynchronous, byte-level replication of data across a distributed enterprise. It currently supports GuardianOS-powered Snap servers, but will support Windows, Unix and Linux later this year, Pollard said.