Storage vendor OnStor has introduced enhancements to its Pantera line of storage, giving solution providers a unified IP storage system aimed squarely at the SMB market.

The new products fall under the Pantera LS2100 series, and are available exclusively through OnStor’s solution provider partners. The new products, the LS2130 and LS2150, offer SMB customers a unified storage system with NAS and iSCSI connectivity in a single box, says Narayan Venkat, vice president of marketing, OnStor.

Venkat says that the LS2100 series incorporates significantly more open source components, including the Zettabyte File System (ZFS), designed by Sun for its Solaris operating system. ZFS includes support for high storage capacities, file system and volume management, snapshots and copy-on-write clones, continuous integrity checking and automatic repair, and since its open source, it’s also much more affordable, Venkat says.

Both the 2130 and the 2150 system use the ZFS hybrid storage pool to provide a simple, reliable storage system that can combine SAS or Flash SSD drives for high-performance, or SATA drives for high capacity, delivering the best combination of performance and capacity at an optimal price point.

Venkat says OnStor believes the storage industry is moving toward a more open source approach, and that SMBs especially will appreciate being able to integrate storage solutions regardless of vendor.

“The market is moving towards a more open-source approach,” Venkat says, in an effort to increase performance and lower prices, as well as drive a more vendor-agnostic approach for solution providers.

“Expanding our use of open source software will deliver greater choice to our customers,” says Bob Miller, CEO of OnStor. “We believe ZFS will become the predominant file system standard in enterprise environments, and OnStor intends to be at the forefront of this movement.”

Many SMEs currently use multi-vendor storage systems that are often spread throughout the organization, making storage management difficult and costly. With the Pantera LS 2100 series, Venkat says, companies can deploy a single storage solution that manages all types of applications and provides transparent storage management from a single console. The LS2100 line significantly reduces the cost of storage capacity and can cut administrative tasks by up to 75 percent, he says.

“What we see from our competitors is that normally, your solution price is based on the capacity plus a support price. Any additional features or capabilities must be added on to that cost,” he says, which can easily put what started out as an SMB-focused solution way out of a solution providers’ price range.

Enterprise-class features like advanced RAID management, instantaneous snapshots and clones, differential replication for disaster recovery, self-healing capabilities, thin provisioning and native compression are often necessary for solution providers, regardless of their customers’ size.

Venkat says by including all these features into the LS2100 series, OnStor has eliminated the pricing hurdles many solution providers face when trying to add these capabilities on a line-item basis.

“We’ve been hearing from solution providers and customers that competitors’ products have the same basic functionality, but by the time they add on the functionality they need it’s way too expensive,” he says.

OnStor’s LS2100 series pricing starts at about $36,000, which Venkat says is about 1.5 to 2 times more affordable than competing solutions from EMC, EqualLogic, LeftHand/Hewlett-Packard and/or Network Appliance, he says.

Venkat says the biggest differentiator for the LS2100 series is the integration of both iSCSI and NAS functionality. Solution providers whose customers have an iSCSI-based system would still have to invest in, deploy and support a separate NAS solution, which is costly and resource-intensive, he says.

The LS2100 series gives solution providers a ‘one-stop-shop’ for customers needing both types of storage for mission-critical, frequently accessed data and long-term archiving and storage, he says.

In addition, OnStor offers solution providers the ability to add solid state drive (SSD) technology to the SL2100 line to enable more complex storage tiering, increase performance and strengthen data integrity, Venkat says.

Though EMC’s NS120 and NetApp’s FAS2050 are the closest competitors to OnStor’s new products, Venkat says the LS2100 line can deliver twice the performance and includes built-in enterprise-class features for which the other vendors charge extra.

The LS2130 has a list price of $36,000 with 15TB of Serial ATA storage.  The Pantera LS 2150 is scalable up to 96 drives of SAS, SATA and SSD and has a list price of $39,500 with 15TB of SATA storage, says Venkat.