Scale Computing, a developer and manufacturer of midmarket clustered storage solutions, announced N05, its newest unified (SAN/NAS) storage solution aimed at SMBs.
Scale’s N05 Starter Cluster is made of up three storage nodes offering 1.5TB of capacity and features the Intelligent Clustered Storage (ICS) technology used in Scale’s S line of storage nodes. Customers can scale up with additional nodes of various sizes as needed.
According to Jeff Ready, CEO and founder of Indianapolis-based Scale Computing, the N05 not only meets the archiving and unified storage needs of SMBs, it also lowers the barrier to entry for virtualization, particularly with a $7,500 price for the starter cluster.
“Our target market is first-time SAN [storage-area network] buyers,” says Ready. “Many of our customers previously used direct-attached storage, maybe a server with a couple of hard drives, and they find they’re looking to a shared storage architecture because they’re looking at virtualization.”
For SMBs, the cost savings of virtualization aren’t as significant as those for a large enterprise that may be consolidating hundreds of servers, he explains, but they want to adopt virtualization to take advantage of the “variety of disaster recovery tools and other features of a virtual infrastructure.”
Providing a unified storage platform that serves both file and block protocols out of the same pool of storage—iSCSI on the block side, CIFS/NFS on the file side—is a key differentiator, Ready says.
He adds, “A unique property is you can mix and match different SKUs/different sizes of nodes in the same cluster … and continue to interoperate. This is different from most of the scale-out block vendors where all drives in a cluster need to match, or if they don’t, you can only access the lowest common denominator [of capacity].”
The N05 also provides the enterprise-class replication features of the existing Scale product line, which include the ability to schedule intervals of replication in advance; flexible replication topology (one-to-one, many-to-one, one-to-many, many-to-many); dynamic use of storage space for replication; and thin provisioning maintained on the target.
The price point of the N05 will not only appeal to SMBs, but to their resellers, Ready claims. Scale Computing sells 100 percent through the channel.
Particularly for SMBs looking to virtualization, “the Achilles’ heel for resellers is the high cost of the shared storage system required to run it,” Ready says.”With most iSCSI SAN or scale-out NAS out there, there’s a $40,000 to $50,000 starting price plus the virtualization software, etc. You’re easily at $100,000-plus even before the VAR partner has added professional services.”
He continues, “We tell partners, think back. Have there been deals around virtualization [where] you convinced a customer virtualization was the way to go, but sticker shock killed the deal? Scale offers the tool to reengage that customer and win the business.”
Additionally, Scale’s channel program gives 40 points of discount off the MSRP to the channel—10 points to the distributor and 30 points to the partner. “And we do have a channel program that honors deal registration, so only one partner will have the ability to make full margin,” notes Ready.
The N05 runs on the Intel Atom processor and is built with “primarily off-the-shelf components,” Ready says, which enables Scale to offer the starter cluster at its current price.
He sums up: “It’s an enabling tool for partners to architect these systems customers need, but at same time, with 40 points margin they can make some real money.”