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NAS market tempts telco supplier

The storage space is a temptress, even for telco suppliers.

Continuous Computing Corp. (CCPU), a San Diego, Calif-based provider of platform solutions for telecom equipment manufacturers, launched a network-attached storage (NAS) appliance on Tuesday. The Hi-File NAS appliance for enterprise and telco applications utilizes CCPU's high-availability middleware technology, upSuite, and features transparent, sub-second fail-over and transparent file system replication over TCP/IP.

The company said that during development of the upSuite product it became apparent that the technology could be applied to a NAS architecture. So, the company decided to move forward. While the move to NAS may have been a logical progression for the company, the market may not be that easy to penetrate.

CCPU is firmly in the Solaris space and NAS is nothing new to the Solaris platform. Vendors entering the space really need to differentiate their product from the rest of the pack.

"Being a Solaris-only vendor that is attempting to deliver NAS solutions to service providers is a double-edged sword," said Yankee Group analyst William Hurley. "The level of resiliency offered by a Solaris-based platform is attractive. However, more and more service providers must deploy NAS services in a fashion that is different from the competition," he said.

Hurley said to differentiate on the service creation level, gaining access to the operating system kernel can be important. So, the attributes that make Solaris resilient also make it difficult to customize, as well as expensive, and, he said, tier-1 storage vendors, such as EMC with Celerra, can deliver this level of resiliency for NAS.

CCPU's upSuite middleware is inserted into the file system inside the Solaris kernel and replicates over TCP/IP. The kernel is the essential center of a computer operating system that provides basic services for all other parts of the operating system.

Hi-File provides sub-second transparent fail-over to network clients by enabling IP address fail-over and file handle fail-over. Network clients continue to use the same IP address and the same file handles or names, leaving network clients unaware that a failure has taken place.

CCPU product marketing manager Adam Stevenson said the goal of Hi-File is to leverage existing storage equipment in a high-availability NAS solution.

The current configuration of H-File consists of 12 hot-swappable 36G Byte hard drives for a total of 432G Bytes of storage capacity. Other features include dual SCSI chains, three 10/100 Ethernet ports, optional dual Gigabit Ethernet ports and two expansion slots. Hi-File includes a RAID manager and supports NFS, CIFS and HTTP.

Hi-File is available now to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and end-users. Single systems are $19,995, while pairs list for $38,995.

Last month, CCPU scored more than $21 million in equity funding from several venture capital organizations. The round was led by Technology Crossover Ventures, with additional participation from Palomar Ventures, Smart Technology Ventures and senior partners of W R Hambrecht + Co, including Bill Hambrecht, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman.

Let us know what you think about the story, e-mail Kevin Komiega, assistant news editor

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