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Thecus chucks 2 new NAS boxes at SOHO punters

Atom-powered products spin WD Red drives

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Desktop and low-end rackmount NAS boxes keep on getting more powerful and Thecus has just introduced a brace of new ones, together with directly attached storage box that can be daisy-chained to a master unit.

The rackmount N4510 and desktop N7510 are both Atom-powered, with 2GB of DDR3 SDRAM, and have 4- and 7-bays respectively, filled with WD Red NAS drives in the units we saw. Both support 1GbitE and USB 2.0, also USB 3.0 as hosts, and come with McAfee anti-virus protection.

We saw the N4510 with a local keyboard, mouse and display run off the Atom processor and these can be used to play multimedia files on the box and run a browser. They use v5.0 of the Thecus OS which supports 10BASE-T, has 2.5PB addressability, Data Guard backup and the McAfee SW.

PR head Mike Chang said Thecus's main competitors are Qnap and Synology. He said he wasn't aware of Overland Storage and its Snap Server NAS product line. Other competitors have to include Buffalo, Iomega and Seagate's LaCie.

UK partner Origin said Thecus was fast and agile in its product development and the products are solid.

These low-end NAS products are just going to keep on getting more powerful and more capacious; 4TB drives are coming and that will bump capacities up a third more from the 3TB drives that can be used today. It's not inconceivable that flash caches could start appearing as well, if not actual SSDs; premium product player Drobo supports these already.

It could well be that mainstream storage array vendors are simply ruled out of the low-end small office/SMB NAS market because their products are too expensive and their development cycles too long. This could mean that players like Overland either have to get down and dirty to compete directly with companies like Thecus or focus on other sections of the market.

EMC manages to compete with the Thecus-type suppliers by having a separately branded Iomega business unit. NetApp tried its StoreVault brand for the low-end but gave up. Profit margins here are thin and volume is key. Iomega, with its million-plus sales of its StorCenter line knows that and is profiting from it. Maybe other mainstream vendors should have their own Iomega-type sub-brand as well. ®

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