Start-up builds absolutely enormous NAS device
Zambeel breaks cover
Zambeel has kept its products under wraps until now, and has turned out to be one of a handful of start-ups in various stages of developing massive storage systems that are claimed to outrun existing high-end storage systems, by scaling not just in terms in capacity but also in performance. Zambeel's Aztera storage device can be configured with just 3TB of capacity, but it is really designed for consolidation of storage at data centers which aim to offer storage as a utility-style billable service to end-users. Zambeel promises that the Aztera will automate provisioning of NAS resources, and will allow multiple domains to be defined.
"3TB isn't that much storage anymore. More than a third of our sales pitches involve more capacity than that," Thomas.
The company was founded in 1999, and has raised $65m of funding. Its CEO Darren Thomas was formerly vice president of advanced technology and business development at Compaq Computer Corp, in charge of the strategic direction of Compaq's enterprise storage division, for which he was also previously director of engineering. Zambeel CTO Karl Schubert was formerly CTO at Dell Computer Corp, and director of storage architecture at the same company. Zambeel claims its vice president of marketing, Praveen Asthana, "played a key role in establishing IBM's OEM business in storage."
Although the Aztera began shipping this week, and has been beta tested by six companies, no purchase orders have been placed yet. The beta tests have involved high performance computing, collaborative engineering, geophysical research, and CAD/CAM.
At the heart of the Aztera is a dual redundant Gigabit Ethernet switch which links a cluster of controllers - numbering ten or more Pentium Lintel blades - to the storage device's disks, with processor resources that can be allocated on the fly.
The Aztera can be split into logical domains for use by different departments, or for billing or security reasons, such as the separation of public and private data. Within each domain, files can be shared. Although Zambeel said the Aztera can be configured with just 3TB storage, the company quoted a $300,000 price for an "entry" Aztera with 7.5TB of capacity.
Other start-ups also developing massive storage systems which include built-in switched networks include 3Pardata - which will not ship any hardware until the third quarter - and Cereva Networks Inc. Zambeel will face the same problem that these companies face, attempting to sell a data center product with no company track record to back up any claims about the reliability or worth of its hardware.
"We're going for bleeding edge companies, and we're talking to line-of-business managers, not CIOs, " Thomas said. He added: "No, we're not going after the CIO at say Deutsche Bank. We're not going after the risk adverse."