CES 2014: 11 Storage Products That Turned Heads

Seeking Business Among All The Bling

Hiding among all the glitter of big-name consumer electronics rollouts at this year's CES was a group of storage vendors making a business case for a wide range of technologies ranging from mobile device memory to flash storage and SSDs to NAS appliances.

These technologies, targeting business users as much as or more than individual consumer users, struggled to gain attention in the midst of all the buzz generated by the latest smartphones and tablets or curved televisions. Yet they provide new options for solution providers, especially those targeting the huge SMB market.

Didn't get to Las Vegas this month? That's OK. Turn the page, and let CRN take you on a tour of the storage side of CES.

Buffalo: LinkStation 200 Series SOHO NAS

Buffalo Technology, Austin, Texas, used CES to launch its new LinkStation 200 Series of NAS appliances for small office and home office (SOHO) users.

The LinkStation 200 NAS devices allow users to store, organize, access and stream media files from a PC or mobile device, as well as set up a free personal cloud for remote access of their data. They also serve as a backup target for multiple PCs or mobile devices.

The new LinkStation 200 Series appliances are available in a single-drive model with up to 4 TB of capacity, and as a dual-drive model with up to 8 TB with RAID 1 support. The single-drive LinkStation 210 is priced ranging from $170 to $260, while the dual-drive LinkStation 220 is priced from $240 to $550. Both are slated to ship in the second quarter.

Imation: New 2-In-1 Micro USB Flash Drive

Oakdale, Minn.-based Imation launched its new Imation 2-in-1 Micro USB Flash Drive for Android devices. The new drives include both a standard and a micro USB connector for the flexibility to connect to both PCs and mobile devices.

The new 2-in-1 Micro USB flash drive, which swivels open to prevent loss of the cap, expands the storage capacity of Android-based mobile devices and allows users to transfer files without the need for batteries or going over the Internet.

They are slated to be available in the U.S. this quarter in 16-GB, 32-GB and 64-GB capacities ranging in price from $30 to $65.

LaCie: High-Speed Portable Storage

LaCie, Tigard, Ore., used CES to unveil its new Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2, one of the first storage solutions to feature high-speed Thunderbolt 2 technology. The new device, with its black aluminum enclosure, features speeds up to 1,375 MBps thanks to two internal 500-GB PCIe SSDs configured for RAID 0.

LaCie, which in 2012 was acquired by Seagate, expects its Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2 to be used for such high-performance applications as streaming and editing of 4K or 3-D video while in the field. The company claims the device can capture 250 GB of 4K footage in the field and then transfer the content to the post-production team in under 10 minutes.

The LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2 is slated to be available in the first quarter of 2014.

LenovoEMC: New 4-Bay NAS

LenovoEMC, the new moniker for the Iomega line in the wake of the server and storage partnership between EMC and Lenovo, used CES to debut is new LenovoEMC px4-400d four-bay desktop NAS device. The LenovoEMC px4-400d features advanced data-protection capabilities, and local and remote content sharing.

The new LenovoEMC px4-400d has up to four hot-swap 7,200-rpm, 4-TB, server-class SATA hard drives for a total capacity of up to 16 TB. At the same time, the LenovoEMC organization said, read and write performance is up to 25 percent higher than the previous generation.

The LenovoEMC px4-400d can be purchased with and without disks, and includes EMC's LifeLine operating system with built-in cloud technology, remote access, virtualization, data replication, device-to-device copy, RAID support and SSD support.

It is currently shipping with pricing starting at about $729 for the diskless model.

Mushkin: Enterprise-Class SSDs

Austin, Texas-based SSD and component maker Mushkin launched its new ProSpec enterprise-class SSDs at CES.

The new ProSpec SSDs feature the SandForce SF-2500 processor and either MLC or eMLC NAND flash technology. They are available with usable capacities from 100 GB to 480 GB, and have random read performance of 80,000 IOPS and random write performance of 42,000 IOPS, as well as a sustained data transfer rate of 560 MBps.

Also included is a 6-Gbps SATA interface and 128-bit AES hardware encryption. The SSDs also come with a three-year limited warranty.

OCZ: New Enterprise-Class SSDs

OCZ Technology Group, San Jose, Calif., used CES to showcase a new line of SATA-based SSDs for enterprise users of the company's own controller and firmware technology.

The company displayed its new Intrepid 3000 series SSDs, which offer sequential read speeds of up to 540 MBps, sequential write speeds of up to 490 MBps, random read speeds of up to 92,000 IOPS and random write speeds of up to 40,000 IOPS. They range from a 100-GB to an 800-GB capacity, and have a five-year warranty.

Included are the model 3600, based on MLC NAND technology, and the model 3800, based on eMLC NAND.

Plextor: New M6 Series SSDs

Plextor, Fremont, Calif., unveiled its new M6 series SSDs, including SATA and mSATA models and PCIe-based units.

The M6S 2.5-inch SATA touts a capacity of up to 512 GB, with sequential read/write speeds of up to 520 MBps and 440 MBps, and random read/write speeds up to 94,000 IOPS and 80,000 IOPS.

For ultrabook portable PCs, the M6M mSATA SSDs feature similar capacity points and performance.

For the highest performance, Plextor introduced the M6e half-height and full-height PCIe cards with the new Marvell 88SS9183 flash controller. They offer sequential read/write speeds of up to 770 MBps and 625 MBps, as well as random read/write speeds of up to 105,000 IOPS and 100,000 IOPS, with capacities of up to 512 GB.

The M6 series, which also includes a five-year warranty, is scheduled to ship this spring.

SanDisk: Wireless Flash Storage

SanDisk, Milpitas, Calif., unveiled its new 64-GB SanDisk Connect wireless flash drives at CES, giving customers new options for wireless memory expansion for mobile devices.

The SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive instantly adds up to 64 GB of storage capacity to iOS- and Android-based mobile devices. Users can wirelessly connect up to eight devices and stream media to up to three devices simultaneously without an Internet connection. The drive's battery provides up to four hours of wireless streaming, and can be recharged via a USB cable.

The 64-GB SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive is currently available with a price of $100.

Seagate: High-Performance, Compact Storage

At CES, Cupertino, Calif.-based Seagate unveiled its Backup Plus FAST portable drive. The device, which Seagate touts as the world's first portable 4-TB storage device, uses a USB 3.0 interface for data transfer speeds of up to 220 MBps.

The Seagate Backup Plus FAST drive features a metal-topped case, and requires no external power. The two internal drives are configured for RAID 0. It includes the Seagate Dashboard one-click backup software, as well as a mobile backup application for protecting data on mobile devices. It is available with a price of $300.

Also new is the Seagate Backup Plus Slim, a 12.1-mm thin external drive with up to 2 TB for backing up mobile device data. It features a USB 3.0 connector and a red, blue, black or silver metal-top case. It is priced at $180.

Synology: New OS For Multiple Storage Devices And The Cloud

Bellevue, Wash.-based Synology America previewed its DSM 5.0, a new version of its DiskStation Manager operating system, which can be used to manage multiple Synology DiskStation and RackStation devices and tie them to a storage cloud.

DSM 5.0 features QuickConnect, which allows fast creation of a storage volume that can be accessed remotely via browser or iOS, Android or Windows Phone apps. It interfaces with Synology's Cloud Station, a real-time private cloud storage and cross-device synchronization technology, without recurring fees. This allows users to sync between multiple DiskStations and RackStations.

DSM 5.0 features hybrid cloud syncing with Google Drive and Dropbox, scale-out storage cluster to expand to petabytes of data, central management, and data protection including snapshot manager.

Toshiba: Universal Flash Storage For Mobile Devices

Irvine, Calif.-based Toshiba America Electronic Components unveiled a new relationship with Qualcomm Technologies to bring Universal Flash Storage (UFS) Ver2.0 solutions to mobile devices powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 805 processors, with production anticipated in the second quarter.

According to Toshiba, UFS offers a significant performance boost for mobile devices, enabling the use of higher-performance applications, higher-resolution video and improved battery life, compared to the current e-MMC flash technology used in such devices.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processors with Toshiba's UFS memory are expected to be used in higher-end mobile devices while e-MCC technology will be used in midrange and entry-level devices, Toshiba said.