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By | Chris Mellor 14th November 2011 08:03

Nexsan adds NAS range topper

Petabyte E5510 box

Mid-tier storage array supplier Nexsan continues rebuilding its product line with the E5510 array, topping 1PB in capacity.

Nexsan aims to grow by bringing enterprise array features to mid-range products. It has to chart a course between low-cost suppliers undercutting it and enterprise array suppliers producing cost-reduced models with less brand risk.

Three months ago it introduced a two-model lineup E 5000 NAS array family. Now the 5110 (62 TB) and 5310 (720 TB) are topped by the 5510. This stores up to 1,080 TB and introduces synchronous and asynchronous replication to be range. Synchronous replication enables mirroring across a Fibre Channel link.

Like the other E5000s, the 5510 uses FASTier SSD caching, with a dedicated 8GB write cache and and up to 15 x 200GB SSDs for read caching. Each storage pool has its own dedicated cache.

The 5510 has 360 drives in a 27U enclosure. These can be SSD, 15 K SAS, or 1, 2 or 3 TB SATA or nearline SAS drives. There is more information available here (PDF).

Nexsan has tried two IPOs, withdrawing both due to adverse market conditions. Unlike a Compellent or a 3PAR, it does not, in El Reg's view, bring new array technology to the market. Instead it aims to make enterprise array features affordable to the mid-range, and exposes itself to three risks. Two have been mentioned already; being undercut by lower-priced product, and being outsold and marketed by big name suppliers producing lower-priced boxes with reduced functionality.

The third risk is that innovative startups bring better technology to market which excite customers more than a relatively unglamorous offering from Nexsan, that costs more than bargain-basement boxes but doesn't have the brand appeal of a cheap EMC or NetApp product.

Saying Nexsan is unglamorous is not meant to be unkind, but a recognition of the fact that extremes attract more attention, as in extremely low-cost or extremely big as with EMC or NetApp, or an exciting and hot new technology like all-flash arrays. Being a middle-of-the-road company like Nexsan, not being either a brand, technology or price leader, is, essentially, unglamorous, and delivering value-for-money is absolutely vital.

Nexsan has to have a virtuoso cost-structure and pricing strategy for its channel to navigate these three shoals, as well as having rock-solid and feature-rich arrays. The features look good and the E5510 is available now. E5000 range pricing starts at a suggested retail price of $15,000. ®

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