Last week brought the news that HP was buying network storage provider LeftHand Networks. LeftHand specializes in iSCSI solutions for small and mid-market organizations, which, as it turns out, is emerging as the hot new demographic for the storage industry this year.
One after another, storage vendors have rolled out new mid-level systems over the past week in preparation for Storage Networking World. Much of the focus has been on increasing the capabilities of existing systems so they can bring enterprise-class capabilities at a more manageable prices than their high-end brethren.
A case in point is Hitachi Data Systems, which unveiled the newest version of the Adaptable Modular Storage (AMS) platform. The AMS 2000 features such goodies as dynamic load balancing and a 3 Gbps SAS backplane that supports up to 32 point-to-point links capable of a total bandwidth of 9600 MBps. It also has a "spin up, spin down" power-saving capability.
The release comes on the heels of new mid-range backup systems from IBM and Dell. IBM unveiled its Express line of servers and storage, which includes the new 7.2 TB TS2900 Tape Autoloader backup system as well as a new 1 RU DVD enclosure for IBM Power systems. Dell brought out the PowerVault DL2000 featuring a simplified setup process that allows even non-technical people to get the system going within 30 minutes.
Also worth noting is a new NAS Gateway appliance from ONStor. The Couger 3000 series is designed for file server consolidation and archiving applications, as well as storage of large files such as digital images, video and M-CAD.
Mid-level enterprises have been on the radar screens of the top vendors for several years now. Gone are the days when all the R&D went to satisfying the needs to the top-tier customers and then stripping down those systems to suit the rest of the market. And while it's probably a mistake to view these latest systems as a direct response to leaner IT budgets, they just happen to arrive on the scene when the pressure to do more with less is stronger than ever.