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Nexsan is betting that offering tier-one storage at tier-two pricing will drive sales across its expanded product line in an increasingly storage-hungry market.

As recently as a year ago, enterprises were snapping up brand-name, higher-priced storage products to keep up with demand for performance and capacity, but the trend nowadays is toward products like those from Nexsan which are lower priced but deliver high performance and high capacity, says Bob Woolery, senior vice president of marketing, Nexsan.

“We’re out to challenge the accepted norms in the storage industry which are that this kind of performance has to be expensive,” Woolery says. “Why? We all buy our disks and our processors from the same manufacturers, so why can’t we deliver low-cost, high performance and capacity at the same time?”

Over the last year, Nexsan has added significantly to its product line, with products like the Assureon, DATABeast and The Edge which join the SATABoy and the new SASBeast, announced this week. These products, Woolery says, fill a previously underserved market for solution providers whose customers need highly available and highly reliable storage for mission-critical data archiving and backup, but whose needs aren’t filled by traditional tape backup solutions.

“On one hand you have expensive, tier one storage products that are usually priced per I/O per second – based on speed,” Woolery says. “On the other hand, you have tape-based backup solutions that are priced per gigabyte, terabyte – capacity based. We saw a huge opportunity for a market in between; disk-based storage but with the price of tape,” he says.

The key to filling customer demand in this niche is realizing the major issues customers are trying to address – the need for ensuring the integrity of data in the long-term and a simultaneous need to quickly access that data on-demand, he says.

“Our solution providers are serving customers who need primary storage for long-term archiving of fixed content that’s created once and doesn’t change much,” says Woolery. “If you’re looking to optimize to the unique needs of this market segment, density becomes important as well as the integrity of the data,” he says.

For solution providers with customers like this, ‘primary storage versus secondary storage isn’t the right conversation, says Woolery. A flexible, scalable storage solution that can integrate with existing infrastructure is key, as well as accurately determining what types of data customers consider mission-critical for their business.

“For some customers, e-mail archiving classifies as tier-two storage. But for others, they may need to ensure the integrity and on-demand access of their e-mail archives. It all depends on what is critical to the business,” he says.

Nexsan’s SASBeast, an enterprise-class storage solution targeted to the midmarket, is flexible, energy-efficient and affordable, is ideal for transactional applications with high I/O per second, and also has the ability to scale to hundreds of terabytes of capacity in a single rack, says Woolery. This makes SASBeast ideal for customers whose infrastructures support Microsoft Exchange or SQL as well as those that involve large file servers and large amounts of content..

The SASBeast also includes iSCSI and SATA connectivity to easily integrate with customers existing infrastructure, says Woolery. The new solution also integrates cutting-edge energy efficient technology to help customers slash physical costs and achieve energy savings. Nexsan has included new optimized cooling capabilities and next-generation MAID technology, called AutoMAID, which can reduce data storage energy costs up to 60 percent without impacting application performance. 

AutoMAID allows end-users to set specific service levels on each appliance, and to turn off that storage appliance when it’s not needed. One end customer in the health care industry was able to slash energy costs by 20 percent using the lowest energy-saving setting, and other customers are achieving much higher energy savings, Woolery says.

“MAID is architected so that if customers are not using a drive, that drive turns off,” Woolery says. “The challenge was how to reduce the time it takes for those drives to spin up and be usable if that data is needed,” he says. Nexsan’s technology allows for three levels of energy savings, each of which guarantee a corresponding performance level to help solution providers best choose the setting that’s right for their customers’ energy saving goals.

“Most of the time there’s too much latency involved to allow customers to turn off drives that aren’t being used. But with this technology, we can preserve the energy efficiency and give customers the accessibility of tape,” Woolery says.