US Modular Racks Up NAS

Low-cost NAS isn't a consumer box, but 'enterprise' claims are a bit exaggerated

September 21, 2005

2 Min Read
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After competing in the market for low-end NAS devices designed for SMB, SOHO, and even home users over the past couple of years, US Modular is moving its NAS upscale (see SMBs Get Their Backup, Storage Goes Home, and US Modular Debuts NAS ).

The vendor today announced its TeraNAS 1U NAS, which it bills as an enterprise solution” priced at $3,995 for 2 Tbytes.

Of course, "enterprise" is a relative term. US Modular is going after departments of large organizations, as well as SMBs that have room for rackmounted storage. For smaller companies, US Modular has a NAS Cube -- a toaster-sized appliance similar to home and SOHO boxes from Anthology Solutions Inc. and Netgear Inc.

US Modular CEO Nick Payzant resists the idea that the TeraNAS 1U is designed for consumer-type applications like video and digital photo storage. He’ll leave that to vendors such as Buffalo Technology, Iomega Corp. (NYSE: IOM), Maxtor Corp. (NYSE: MXO), and NetGear.

TeraNAS uses a 32-bit RISC processor and supports up to four 500-Gbyte SATA drives and RAID 0, 5, and 1. The system lets users share files across Windows, Mac, Linux, and Unix operating systems. It supports snapshots, and the drives are hot-swappable for high availability. Payzant hopes to add wireless capability down the road.The TeraNAS brings US Modular into competition with Windows-based NAS from Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) and Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ). Payzant hopes to win on price. For instance, 1.2-Tbyte systems from Dell PowerVault and HP ProLiant NAS cost about the same as the 2-Tbyte TeraNAS.

Of course, US Modular isn’t selling direct against Dell and HP. It has a distributor deal with Ingram Micro Inc. (NYSE: IM) and a VAR network.

Payzant says the five-year-old company, which has 55 employees, started out selling PC memory and flash cards and evolved into NAS. This may be as far as US Modular goes for networked storage. “I’ll never say never, but we have no plans to get into SANs,” he says.

Mum's the word on financing. Payzant says, however, that the Irvine, Calif.-based company is profitable.

— Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch0

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