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In what could be considered unusual timing, Eden Prairie,
Minn.-based Compellent Technologies has announced zNAS, which
consolidates file and block-level storage on a single platform based on
the ZFS file system.

The timing is interesting because zNAS won’t ship until the end of
June, and the company, which is 100 percent channel, is holding its
annual partner and customer event, C-Drive, next week.

Compellent says that with the Fluid Data architecture, zNAS can
actively manage and move data in a virtual pool of storage, regardless
of the size and type of block, file or drive. The 128-bit ZFS file
system addresses 18 quintillion (1.84×1,019) times more data than
current 64-bit systems. Combined, that means the target customers —
mid-size enterprises — can simplify management, improve performance
for critical applications and reduce complexity and costs,  Bob
Fine, director of product marketing for Compellent, tells Channel
Insider.

This is especially attractive in the virtualization space because
unified SAN/NAS management simplifies provisioning and recovery of
virtual servers in VMware, Microsoft, Citrix and Oracle environments.

There is a dramatic change taking place in this market, he says, with customers buying more carefully than they did before.

"What the channel is saying, and we’re seeing overall in the market,
is that end customers are looking for consolidation in their storage,"
Fine says. They are taking more time and effort to evaluate their
storage practices. "What they used to buy may not be what they buy in
the future."

That’s consistent with what the Enterprise Strategy Group is
finding, states senior analyst Terri McClure. "Our research indicates
that 2010 is the year of IT cost containment, and users are looking for
ways to reduce operating expenditures by reducing storage
infrastructure complexity."

Fine says the company addressed this need by combining two
state-of-the-art technologies, the most advanced file system on the
market (the open-source Zettabyte File System or ZFS) with the most
advanced storage platform on the market (Storage Center). "You really
have a compelling product. You get scalable easy to use NAS and
likewise very scalable and easy to use SAN."

zNAS offers a single interface for managing mixed Unix, Linux and
Windows (CIFS/NFS) file and block data. It starts at about $84,000 with
two clustered zNAS nodes, two clustered SAN controllers, 8.7 TB of SAS
storage capacity, and thin provisioning, automated tiered storage,
snapshots, replication and storage resource management licenses.
Compellent SAN customers can add two clustered zNAS nodes starting at
$36,000.

Earlier this year the company updated its flagship storage virtualization platform.
Storage Center 5 features Portable Volume replication, scalable SAS
storage, automated tiered storage with RAID 6 protection, Virtual Ports
I/O technology, Server Mapping provisioning and space-efficient
Consistency Groups.

Analyst Dave Hill, principal, Mesabi Group, told Channel Insider it
was an impressive announcement by an impressive company. "Of all the
companies that use channels, I’m not sure how many do it effectively,
but Compellent does. Their growth has been very good, and that’s
amazing… in this economy."