Nexsan product brings content-addressable storage (CAS) to midmarket

New unit addresses compliance and data-volume problems in midsized companies by bringing CAS into a more affordable-class machine.

Nexsan Technologies will today introduce a disk-based archiving box for midsized businesses. The product is designed to make content-addressed storage (CAS) technology available in a lower-cost than previous units.

For a list price of $65,000 customers get the Assureon SA,, which has a capacity of up to 2 terabytes (TB) and the ability to deduplicate records. It will be shipped within 30 days and will be sold almost exclusively through the channel.

The company decided to add CAS to a midmarket product in order to satisfy what it sees as a need among midmarket customers for the storage and retrieval of huge amounts of what had been thought to be trivial data, but which could be subpoenaed in a lawsuit, according to Phillip Black, Nexsan's CEO.

Rather than storing data as a file that can be copied or shifted around, CAS systems assign metadata to pieces of content, creating an object that can be stored permanently in one spot on a disk. That saves processing power and disk space by eliminating copying, makes retrieval faster, and satisfies compliance requirements by making it easy to verify whether data changed after it was stored.

By using CAS, the Assureon SA, can retrieve documents according to the metadata assigned to it – including the date it was created, the title, author, keywords and phrases, or other custom metadata. Assureon SA also uses RAID 6 protection for data security to prevent data loss and WORM disk functionality that gives nonerasable and nonrewritable protection of data.

Nexsan already has an enterprise product, the Assureon, which was introduced in August of 2005, and has since then upgraded the product with encryption and more powerful archiving features.

Tom Trainer, a senior analyst at Greenwood Village, Col.-based Evaluator Group, Inc. said VARs can benefit from the product.

"This is a nicely positioned box for value-added resellers who bring applications, services and support for midsized companies. They can package this and deliver a solution," Trainer said.

However, Trainer said that while the Assureon SA does have document-level security, the product does not provide the safety measures that some companies require.

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"This product will allow small and midsized clients to safely and securely store their documents and provide all of the requirements for Sarbanes-Oxley, but if you have requirements for encrypted data, if that's part of your corporate governance and part of a requirement that you need to meet, then this is not the iron-clad enterprise all data secure product," Trainer said.

"I'm going to market it as an all-in-one disk-based vault for long-term data retention and archiving," said Jeanne Wilson, president of Condor Storage, a Sedona Ariz.-based Nexsan partner.

Greg Knieriemen, vice president of CHI Corporation, a Cleveland, Ohio-based storage VAR and Nexsan partner, said some may think the cost is high, but many of his customers, especially in the legal field, have spent additional financial resources searching for specific documents for a case.

"Documents can be scattered, they can be in multiple locations and to have an appliance that can centralize that as a kind of document repository that they can query against very quickly and very easily, is a huge cost savings for them," Knieriemen said. "It's not like general purpose storage. The value isn't the ability to store data, the value is the ability to archive it and efficiently extract it," Knieriemen added.

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