The Overland Storage N2000 - Rich in features but stays sensitive in
It is no secret that small and
mid-sized businesses (SMBs) are still keeping their belts tight in the face of
the economic slowdown that has occurred. This is forcing them to change how they
do business which means bringing in the right technologies to make sure their
employees can still get their work done. As they do, more are bound to find the
Overland Storage SnapServer N2000 the right technology to help them meet this
A survey produced,
a self-described Internet phone service for small business, reports what most
SMBs already know: it is becoming increasingly rare to have all
of their employees in a single office.
Many SMBs are cutting
back on office space and instead encouraging their employees to work offsite in
their home or shared offices. In addition, many are leveraging part-time
employees or contractors to do specialized or non-business critical tasks.
The challenge in this environment is
that it becomes difficult to identify the right technology to accommodate the
needs of this increasingly diverse and distributed workforce. One such challenge
is identifying a storage solution that can securely store and share information
between all of these different individuals so they can do their respective jobs
but that does not break the budget of the SMB.
The common technology response to
meeting this challenge is to use Network Attached Storage (NAS). However the
trouble with using NAS in this new environment is that most NAS solutions that
SMBs can afford are not really designed to meet these enterprise requirements.
Most NAS devices in their price range
are consumer-grade in feature functionality. They
have been primarily developed and marketed to individuals who are more concerned
with storing the most recent iTune download or pictures from Aunt Suzie's
type of NAS features
that SMBs need -
availability, flexibility, reliability, and scalability
- are available but lack
the one feature that
they do need: affordability.
To get enterprise features means they need to spend enterprise like dollars and
most do not have $40K in their budget to purchase an enterprise caliber NAS
solution that meet their higher end requirements. As a result they often settle
for a sub $10K NAS solution that is more appropriately labeled as a consumer
The good news for SMBs is that they now have a new option.
New to the sub $10K NAS market is the
Overland Storage's SnapServer N2000.
In addition to rounding out Overland Storage's own range of NAS solutions, it
more importantly provides these SMBs the extra functionality that they have been
looking for at a price point amenable to their budget.
SnapServer N2000 offers:
- A storage-optimized Linux platform.
This is a feature an SMB is not apt to see on any other NAS appliances in
this price range. The OS on the N2000 is GuardianOS is a 6th generation NAS
operating system that is well beyond basic OSes found on other NAS
GuardianOS includes wizard driven menus that help guide
SMBs through the installation and creation of storage volumes as well as
offers a web-based management console to assist them in managing it.
By providing its own optimized operating system
Overland is able to contain its costs and maintain complete control over the
feature set on its NAS offerings. Other NAS platforms in this price range
usually have pre-packaged OSes so they are subject to more limited feature
sets plus they are forced to wait for the providing operating system vendor,
such as Microsoft, to add desired or needed features, if they become
available at all.
- Storage flexibility and scalability.
The base SnapServer N2000 unit comes with 4 drives
though SMBs are not locked into a specific drive type. The N2000 gives SMBs
the freedom to choose between either desktop or enterprise SATA drives in 1
and 2 TB capacities.
Further those SMBs that have performance sensitive
applications such as Exchange or SharePoint can opt for lower capacity 300
or 600 GB SAS drives that support higher 15K RPM speeds. The N2000 also
gives SMBs the flexibility to expand to a 12-drive system that can scale to
as much as 144TB utilizing
SnapServer E2000 expansion units
if storage capacity is a concern.
Because SMBs are bound to have some applications that
need both capacity (archiving or backups)and performance (Exchange Server,
SQL Server, VMware) SMBs may mix both high performing SAS drives and higher
capacity SATA drives in the same base system to meet these different
- Enterprise level system availability.
The N2000 comes with the type of high availability features typically only
found on enterprise NAS systems. It includes hot swappable drives, redundant
power supplies and variable hot-swappable fans.
- Complete integration with either Microsoft Windows
or UNIX environments. A Linux based platform is
sometimes a red flag to SMB users. But unlike other NAS solutions in this
price range that use Linux, GuardianOS does not use kludgy workarounds to
integrate with Microsoft environments.
It is fully compatible with Microsoft Active Directory
Services (ADS) as well as UNIX Network Information Service (NIS) so it can
be managed as other network devices and information securely shared using
accepted and understood network security standards.
No one disputes that times are tough but necessity is the
mother of invention and the continuing tough economic climate is spurring needed
innovation in this entry level of the storage market. The SnapServer N2000 is
one such example.
Overland Storage brings forward its
already mature GuardianOS software, adds in enterprise storage system features
like multiple tiers of storage, high availability and support for mixed
workloads, and stays price sensitive in the process. This means that SMBs that
have developed enterprise-like storage requirements but thought they needed to
purchase a consumer grade storage system now have a storage solution that is
built and priced specifically for them.
- Centralized management and DR.
SMBs have the same needs for instant backup and recovery as well as disaster
recovery that enterprises have. The SnapServer N2000 has a robust feature
set to deliver on these requirements to include replication, snapshot
functionality at both the file and block levels, and the ability to manage
multiple SnapServer devices from its integrated SnapServer Manager console.