Storage startup unveils 200Tbyte NAS system

A storage technology startup has found a potential, though expensive, answer to the problem of users buying file server after...

A storage technology startup has found a potential, though expensive, answer to the problem of users buying file server after file server in order to keep up with ever-increasing quantities of data: Their solution - build a really, really big file server.

Zambeel has announced the release of its Aztera system, which is positioned as a one-size-fits-all network-attached storage (NAS) box. It can store up to 200Tbytes of data and handle the storage needs of multiple workgroups or business units within a company.

Aztera is based on a switched architecture and includes 10 computer read/write heads that can be assigned to different departments in a company based on their needs.

"If you want to be twice as fast, you just assign two heads," said Darren Thomas, Zambeel's president. "A file system can span across all our heads or as few as you want, and we can change to make a file system larger or smaller in capacity and performance."

For example, a company could use Aztera to set up multiple domains offering high bandwidth and secured access for an engineering source code repository, moderate bandwidth for access to sales support data and other internal corporate information and low bandwidth for public access to a Web site.

Aztera can currently be used with Unix and Linux servers and will eventually be able to run on Windows systems, although Zambeel did not disclose a specific time frame for adding Windows support.

Nancy Marrone, an analyst at Enterprise Storage Group said Zambeel's product is unique in the NAS marketplace. "To me, the cost saving is in the efficiency," she said. "Having a single device that can allocate storage quickly reduces time and management costs."

With a list price of about $300,000 (£196,645) for a 7.5Tbyte system, Aztera's solution is not cheap as far as NAS boxes go. EMC's Clariion has a list price of $82,000 (£53,752) for 3.5Tbytes of storage. However Thomas said Aztera can be configured to act as five separate systems and is competitively priced in such a setup.

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