Tricord Targets Prisons, Casinos

Will vendor's new NAS for digital image users stand out in the crowd?

November 30, 2001

2 Min Read
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NAS startup Tricord Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: TRCD) has announced new software designed specifically to meet the needs of industries that rely on digital imaging for security surveillance -- such as prisons, casinos, construction sites, and real-estate companies.

The products are enhanced versions of Tricords existing low-end NAS software and hardware devices, augmented with improved functionality for digital imaging and security applications.

Extra features include high-speed backup capabilities, support for extra power supplies, increased cluster capacity, and support for up to 160 users.

"A 16-appliance cluster now handles files up to 208 gigabytes," says Joan Wrabetz, President and CEO of Tricord.

Despite the improvements, Tricord’s products only store up to four terabytes of data, far less than the 15 terabytes or more that high-end storage vendors like EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) and Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP) offer. But Wrabetz says there is a need for a smaller, cheaper alternative to these high-end products in the storage market.“Our customers are looking for less expensive products and they don’t usually have trained IT staff… I think this is going to be a growing trend."

Kelley Property Management, an Iowa real-estate company with about 30 employees, is working on setting up security cameras in about 1,000 apartment buildings. “We chose Tricord because we don’t have in-house tech people, and there was a lot less tech-time cost involved,” says company owner Ron Kelley.

Pushan Rinnen, an analyst with Gartner/Dataquest thinks Tricord has a unique approach to clustering storage, but she still has her doubts about Tricord’s chances to make it big in the security NAS market.

“Their brand name isn’t strong," she says. "And this isn’t an easy time to establish a name, when IT dollars are very limited and companies aren't willing to take risks on new products and new vendors.”

Another problem, according to Aberdeen Group Inc. analyst Dan Tanner, is that Tricord only supports CIFS (Windows) and MAC, not UNIX. “That’s kind of unusual, since most people are looking for something more flexible,” he says. “It’s not a positive thing.”Tricord is planning on adding support for UNIX soon, according to Wrabetz, but she was unable to say when.

Still, Tricord has found a good, vertical market, Tanner says: “This is a slim, inexpensive product for a limited, well-defined set of needs. There’s nothing wrong with it, but you have to know where it applies.”

— Eugénie Larson, special to Byte and Switch

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