Vendors Set Sights on SMB Windfall

As SNW kicks off, storage vendors head downscale in downtown San Diego

April 3, 2006

4 Min Read
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SAN DIEGO -- Storage Networking World -- Vendors continue the trend of offering cut-price, scaled-down storage for SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses) at SNW today, with Xiotech, FalconStor, Abrevity, and Neartek all unveiling new products, pricing, and services.

SAN specialist Xiotech, for example, is taking the wraps off a stripped-down version of its TimeScale 620 replication device, unveiling its TimeScale 100 offering for smaller firms. Unlike the 620, the 100 cannot be clustered and is priced on a per-server basis, as opposed to capacity-based pricing on the enterprise model. "The entry price of the 620 is quite high for an SMB... A smaller firm may have a small number of servers," explains Mike Stoltz, Xiotech's vice president of marketing.

Basic pricing for the 100, which is available immediately, starts at $23,000, compared to $60,000 for a base-level configuration of the 620 with a capacity of 1 Tbyte.

Even continuous data protection (CDP) vendors are getting in on the downmarket act. FalconStor is including an SMB edition along with Enterprise and Remote Office editions of its new CDP IPStor product this week. IPStor previously let customers use frequent snapshots to recover from in case of data loss. Now it's added the ability to capture journal writes between snapshots for true CDP capability.

The new product also includes a visual slider interface to help users find the last stable image to roll back to. The SMB version starts at $1,000, supporting 1 Tbyte of data.Abrevity, for its part, is unveiling its File Data Classifier (FDC) today, a smaller version of its File Data Manager (FDM) ILM software. Whereas FDM is priced at $5,000 per Tbyte, FDC costs $1,000 per Tbyte. Initially, the new offering, which will be available towards the end of April, can be bought for an introductory price of $499.

What users gain financially, however, they will lose in performance. Whereas FDM can handle up to 1,000 files a second, FDC searches through around 200 files. With FDC, users can only manage up to 3 Tbytes of data on screen at any given time, unlike the enterprise version, which, according to Abrevity, can manage unlimited Tbytes.

Bill Reed, vice president of marketing at Abrevity, tells Byte and Switch he took a leaf from EMC's book when it came to pricing. The storage giant recently launched a slew of SMB-specific products, including a scaled-down version of its VisualSRM storage management product, priced at just under $1,000. (See EMC GAs SMB Products and EMC Heads Downmarket.) "We're not storage resource management, but we felt that if we had a data classification and management product at the same price point, that would be pretty exciting," says Reed.

Tape specialist Neartek, which announces a new version of its Virtual Storage Engine (VSE) library management software today, is another vendor looking for the SMB dime. (See Neartek Debuts VSE 3.0.) Version 3.1 lets firms vault their data over an IP link, according to Neartek execs, something that could prove useful for resources-strapped SMBs.

"Instead of having the secretary stick the tape in an envelope and send it away, you can vault virtual tapes over a WAN," says Steve Bagby, Neartek's CTO. "For SMEs it's a big money saver in terms of time, and also a big confidence booster."Of course, there is method in all this madness. Many SMBs' data loads are growing to enterprise levels, and there is a feeling that this is a relatively untapped corner of the storage market. In addition to EMC, Fujitsu, NEC, Iomega, PacketLight, and LightSand are just some of the vendors that have recently made forays into this space. (See Looking Low, Storage Dives Down, NEC Launches SMB Arrays, Fujitsu Shows Off at Intel Summit, Iomega Expands Desktop REV, LightSand Addss SMB Gateways, and SNW: Small, SAS-sy & Safe.)

Last week, analyst firm IDC predicted that more SMBs will deploy storage technologies traditionally associated with enterprise users this year. Small firms, in particular, are expected to significantly increase their SAN capacities over the next 12 months. (See IDC Claims SMBs to Rise in '06.)

A recent Byte and Switch Insider also predicted that SMB storage is on the rise. Growth in spending on storage by small and medium-sized businesses is expected to outstrip the growth of the overall storage market at least until the end of 2006, the report said, buoyed by spiraling volumes of data in both large and small firms.

James Rogers and Dave Raffo, Senior Editors, Byte and Switch

Organizations mentioned in this article:

  • Abrevity Inc.

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • FalconStor Software Inc. (Nasdaq: FALC)

  • Fujitsu Ltd. (Tokyo: 6702; London: FUJ; OTC: FJTSY)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • IDC

  • Iomega Corp. (NYSE: IOM)

  • Neartek Inc.

  • LightSand Communications Corp.

  • PacketLight Networks Ltd.

  • Storage Technology Corp. (StorageTek)

  • Xiotech Corp.0

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