Cisco this week rolled out a new storage solution that provides SMBs with a single storage appliance and integrated business applications. Slated to replace the older NSS 2000 and 3000 series that were launched last year, the Cisco Small Business NSS 300 Series Smart Storage platform comes in modems with two-, four- and six-drive bays. Using 2TB SATA drives, this stacks up to a maximum capacity of 12TB on the six-drive bay model, which should be adequate for the general storage of most small and mid-sized businesses out there.
The traditionally network-centric Cisco has recently diversified into selling servers, and this attempt to target SMBs appears to be part of its strategy to expand out of network-land. On this front, David Tucker, Cisco vice president and general manager of the small business group, was reported on Search and SMB Storage as saying that Cisco is working to be disruptive in the SMB storage hardware market when it comes to prices.
The same report noted how a HP Storage All-In-One Storage System 1200r costs more than $13,000 for a 12TB configuration. In comparison, the list price for the NSS 300 ranges from $913 for the basic chassis to $5,625 for a fully-configured six-bay model with 12TB of storage.
I wrote about tapping into the use of WordPress to facilitate communication last year, and it is good to see Cisco add this feature into the NSS 300. It is not clear about the features available to users via the built-in Web server, though incorporating Web servers into storage devices is increasingly common. The ability for corporations to host websites on an appliance allows businesses that are still leery of cloud computing to potentially reduce their hardware for intranet sites.
The Cisco Small Business Pro Service will also be offered together with the Cisco NSS 300. SMBs that prefer a higher level of support will want to purchase this option, which gives SMBs three years of technical support including software updates, 24-hour online chat support, next-business-day hardware replacement, call support during local business hours and extended access to the Cisco Small Business Support Center. The Cisco Small Business Pro Service is US$149 for most NSS 300 Series configurations and is worthwhile, in my opinion, even on the basis of its next-business-day hardware replacement alone.
Despite being a relatively new player, it's clear that Cisco intends to stay and make an impact. In a prepared statement, Ian Pennell, co-chair of Cisco's Small Business Council, highlighted the company's storage directions:
To help small businesses effectively manage the explosion of electronic information, we've built an innovative new family of storage solutions. The addition of these new devices further emphasizes Cisco's commitment to providing small businesses with affordable, easy-to-use technology they require to optimize productivity and drive growth.
Cisco says that higher capacities can be achievable with the NSS 300 as larger disk drive capacities, which are already entering the market, are qualified. The NSS 300 Series Smart Storage is available worldwide.