Snap Appliance goes iSCSI: New Linux NAS box hits the midrange

Snap Appliance, which recently became a division of Adaptec, this week announced its first iSCSI-enabled network-attached storage (NAS) array, allowing both file and block-based storage of data within the same enclosure.

Snap Appliance, a vendor of Linux-based NAS boxes, said the Snap Server 18000 is also its first foray into the midrange marketplace and has a price tag that will provide some competition to similar Window-based offerings by IBM and EMC, an analyst said.

"It helps [users] keep their costs down. And it gives users the only non-Microsoft-based alternative, outside of Network Appliance boxes, and that can't be bad," said Brian Babineau, an analyst at Enterprise Storage Group in Milford, Mass.

The Snap Server 18000 is Snap Appliance's first dual-processor server. It uses RAID 5 and scales from 2TB to 30TB of capacity on Serial-ATA disks and supports Red Hat Linux and Sun Solaris.

In comparison, the Snap Server 15000 was single-processor machine that scaled from 3TB to 29TB. The model 18000 also has a data transfer speed of 550Mbit/sec, which is almost double that of the model 15000.

Jim Sherhart, product manager for Snap Appliance, said that running in the iSCSI mode, the NAS server has more than 110Mbit/sec of sustained throughput and 67,000 I/O operations per second.

At the same time as the new hardware announcement, Snap Server also said it's shipping the latest version of its operating system, GuardianOS 3.1, which offers several improvements to its current version, including server-to-server replication for disaster recovery and business continuity.

Sherhart said the GuardianOS replication feature will save on network bandwidth by replicating only data changes, or deltas, much the same as Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2003 does.

The NAS server starts at US$14,995 for 2TB and will ship at the end of August, Sherhart said. The server comes with 30TB of storage for US$142,960. For an additional US$2,000, a Fibre Channel network interface card will allow users to plug the box into a storage-area network.

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