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Nexsan introduces compact rackmount NAS for edge storage

Nexsan has introduced a new NAS for SMB edge storage use cases. One analyst believes the move is good but will present its own challenges to the vendor.

Nexsan released a small NAS device for SMBs that need to store data at the edge or need a backup target.

Nexsan has expanded its storage portfolio to focus on entry-level requirements with the release of EZ-NAS, which supports network file system and server message block (SMB) protocols. The new NAS takes up a small amount of rack space and comes with up to 72 TB of raw storage capacity and throughput of up to 1.5 GBps. For data backup, customers can add Retrospect software to the device. Retrospect and Nexsan are both owned by StorCentric.

As edge computing moves forward, remote office branches and edge locations will need storage that can collect at the edge before moving it off to the cloud, according to Surya Varanasi, CTO at StorCentric.

Nexsan is venturing into a market with plenty of players, according to Dave Raffo, a senior analyst at Evaluator Group. But Nexsan's product was purpose-built for SMBs, unlike the devices offered by some of the market's larger vendors.

"[Nexsan] developed a product for the SMB and didn't just [remove features] of an enterprise system," Raffo said.

Budget trumps performance

The EZ-NAS is 1U in size and uses four SATA HDDs to achieve higher capacity numbers. Users can add SATA SSDs for better performance like a cache, but Varanasi said that is not its intended use. There is no need to add an SSD cache as HDDs now include flash, he said.

While the edge and IoT tend to go hand-in-hand, Varanasi said the biggest driver of data at the edge is video. High-resolution videos can quickly fill up a camera's local storage. Nexsan users can offload data from local storage to the EZ-NAS and then move or back up the data to the data center or to the cloud.

Varanasi said the EZ-NAS can exceed the demand for average edge use cases, which he put at 20 to 25 TB. It is good to have headroom in terms of performance, he added, but users probably don't need 20 times the headroom.

There is a trade-off between price and performance in the SMB market, Raffo said. All-time high performance isn't as important to the SMB market when budgets are tighter, but it's still a significant concern.

"Nobody wants to wait for their files to be read and written," he said.

Nexsan EZ-NAS front
The compact Nexsan EZ-NAS is ready for edge deployment.

Racking up against the competition

Customers looking to invest in an entry-level NAS device have options that include QNAP or Synology.

Varanasi said the EZ-NAS sets itself apart from competitors by offering a simple deployment and use method, integration with larger storage products from Nexsan, and built-in data protection with Retrospect, which customers pay for at an additional $549 per service. The EZ-NAS offers a single GUI that lets customers manage multiple systems.

But Raffo said SMB vendors like QNAP and Synology also offer NAS devices that are easy to set up, even without dedicated IT resources. Nexsan must find a balance between being better than other simple-to-use systems without being too pricey, Raffo said.

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