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Overland Bets Big On Provision-Free Storage

Financially, Overland Storage can barely be seen in the rear-view mirrors of the top five disk storage vendors, but, technically, the company is staking a claim in the SMB and distributed enterprise markets. The company is introducing SnapServer DX, a unified NAS and iSCSI SAN device that eliminates the need to provision storage capacity.

Available in both 2U and 1U configurations, the device is expandable to 288 Tbytes; includes enterprise-class features like snapshots, replication and remote management; and costs a tenth of competitive solutions, says Overland. For the fiscal year ended June 30, Overland net revenue was $70.2 million and the operating loss was $15.599 million. In contrast, the top five disk vendors--EMC, HP, IBM, Dell and NetApp--reported second quarter revenues that ranged from $1.621 billion to $720 million (IDC).

Still, the company has an opportunity to shake up the market, says Terri McClure, senior analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group. "When we ask users what storage-specific factor would allow more widespread use of server virtualization, the top array-related answer is faster provisioning. The top answer overall is additional training for IT staff. Provisioning is No. 2. When you have a server environment that can be provisioned with a mouse click, you can’t have a laborious storage change management process, so the ease and speed of provisioning is really key here." Overland's target market also doesn't have a bunch of storage staff on hand with the time and training to learn RAID protection and provisioning nuances. "So these are great features for this market segment. and it is pretty feature rich for this price point," McClure says.

At the heart of SnapServer DX is DynamicRAID, a new standards-based technology that delivers the ability to easily increase capacity, expand storage pools, create limitless volumes in seconds, grow and shrink storage volumes independently, and optimize data protection levels, all with zero downtime, says Overland. Available immediately, pricing ranges from $1,699 for a 2-Tbyte configuration to $7,699 for a 36-Tbyte configuration.

Overland considers DynamicRAID to be a disruptive technology that, combined with disruptive pricing, can shake up its primary markets--SMBs and remote and branch offices. DynamicRAID and the SnapServer DX were designed to drive a fundamental shift in IT thinking and process, to eliminate the need to ever provision storage, the company states.

McClure says Overland is pretty small, but in the past year it has brought in a new team with a great track record. "They are in a lower market segment where there is opportunity without always bumping into EMC and NetApp, so I think there is promise there. And they have some interesting IP--so they may even do better than scratch out a living--and if they actually do better than scratch out a living, they will definitely be on the radar of some bigger players who could use a freshening up of the portfolio at this end of the market."

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