OnStor rolls out integrated NAS systems

ONStor, which makes a network-attached storage gateway that attaches to other vendors' storage-area network storage, Monday is expected to introduce a family of NAS systems for midrange enterprise customers.

The ONStor Pantera Clustered NAS system is modular, the modules consisting of shelves of either Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) drives for performance, or Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA ) drives for archiving and long-term retention. The SAS module, which contains 15,000-rpm drives, has a capacity of 1.7TB; the Serial ATA module, which contains 7,200-rpm drives, has a capacity of 6TB. Previously, the company had only the Bobcat NAS gateway, which connected to arrays from Compellant, Hitachi, IBM, Nexsan, 3Par and Xiotech for storage capacity.

"ONStor is now giving customers the choice of either using a clusterable NAS gateway with their existing SAN storage or [purchasing] from ONStor an integrated NAS solution that includes storage," says Greg Schulz, senior analyst for StorageIO.

Several Pantera modules can be clustered and intermixed within the same rack for scalability. They are managed as a single file server using ONStor's GUI. As a customer's installation grows and requires more storage, additional Pantera modules can be clustered into the array.

Chris Ferry, director for operations for MyPhotoAlbum, an online photo service in New York, has two Bobcat gateways attached to Winchester Systems storage and a 16TB Pantera appliance, which holds the 28 million photos belonging to his customers. "We've adopted a hierarchical storage strategy with Pantera," Ferry says. "Thumbnail and smaller-size photos are kept on the SAS storage; larger-size photos, which are rarely accessed, are stored on [the] Serial ATA storage."

Pantera supports Microsoft's Common Internet File System and the Unix/Linux Network File System, as well as built-in snapshot backup capability. The ONStor Pantera Clustered NAS system will compete with arrays from EMC and Network Appliance.

"The Pantera moves ONStor from just being a NAS gateway vendor to being a full-fledged NAS solutions provider with turnkey, scalable solutions for their customers," Schulz says.

Ferry says Pantera has one big advantage over Network Appliance file servers. "When we investigated ONStor and Network Appliance, we found Pantera was at least half the price of NetApp," he says.

The Pantera is a midsize array and does not compete with Windows Storage Server 2003 NAS arrays from Dell, Iomega or HP.

Pantera NAS systems are available in four models: the 2220, the 2240, the 260 and the 2280. Each is differentiated from the other by its performance capabilities and its number of Gigabit Ethernet attachments to the network. A Pantera system starts at US$40,000 for a 6TB appliance.

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