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OnStor and Nexsan team up on low-end NAS

The latest partnership from OnStor and Nexsan produces a low-end NAS bundle. While the 4U NAS system was anticipated by loyal Nexsan channel partners, it may take some time before they warm up to this partnership with OnStor.

Clustered NAS gateway vendor OnStor Inc. and low-end storage disk array maker Nexsan Technologies Inc. are bringing a new low-end NAS product to market through mutual channel partners.

The OnStor Pantera 3110 is a meet-in-the-channel bundle of OnStor's 1U Cougar NAS head and Nexsan's 3U SATABoy arrays. The resulting 4U system can host up to four virtual file servers, up to 8 GB of RAM and up to 42 TB of SATA drives connected by 4 Gbps Fibre Channel ports. The single-node system is available for a list price of $30,000, while a high-availability cluster is listed at $50,000.

OnStor and Nexsan have partnered for years in meet-in-the-channel and OEM deals, going back to the days when OnStor sold only gateways and Nexsan had no NAS. That's changed – OnStor now sells enclosed systems and Nexsan added a low-end NAS gateway earlier this year. However, OnStor representatives and its channel partners said the companies' products are a good fit because Nexsan offers cheap, bulk storage with drive spin-down features for power efficiency and OnStor's NAS is storage-agnostic.

OnStor recently discovered through the gateways' call-home monitoring systems that in 25% of cases they were being used with Nexsan storage, said Tom Gallivan, OnStor's senior vice president of worldwide sales.

Jeanne Wilson, president of OnStor and Nexsan reseller Condor Storage, said Nexsan's spindown makes it a good green storage play. "We've used the OnStor head most often with the V100 SATABeast," she said. "They're both seen as green storage."

In addition to smaller entry-level clients, some of her customers are on their third or fourth tier of NAS storage, and this could make a good starter box there, Wilson said. "If you're shopping for NAS, and you don't want the cost, OnStor bundles features like replication that others charge for."

However, Wilson said channel partners will probably need some time to develop their relationship with OnStor. "In the past there didn't seem to be a consistent philosophy at OnStor about how to work the channel," she said. "Nexsan has really loyal resellers, but that's after years of respecting resellers' campaigns – it requires a lot of trust to build up that kind of relationship."

Storage Switzerland analyst George Crump said the pairing may miss out on some deals with a SATA-only box. "There may be some legacy concerns about the reliability of SATA in the market," he said. But he said OnStor's global namespace could allow Nexsan NAS users to take better advantage of the AutoMAID drive spindown feature. "It seems like everybody lets you power down the drives now, but there isn't always a layer to get data efficiently to the powered-down areas."


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