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10/21/2005
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Overland Delivering First Primary Storage Array

The fruit of Overland's acquisition of Zetta Systems, the array features a single storage processor with both iSCSI and Fibre Channel connectivity.

Overland Storage, known mainly for its storage backup devices, on Monday is breaking out of its shell with the unveiling of its first primary storage device, the Ultamus I.

The new storage array is the first fruit of the San Diego-based vendor's acquisition of Zetta Systems in August.

The Ultamus I features a single storage processor with both iSCSI and Fibre Channel connectivity. The array scales from 4 Tbytes to a maximum of 32 Tbytes of raw capacity, or 28 Tbytes of RAID-protected capacity, using 500-Gbyte SATA Hitachi hard drives.

Overland is positioning the Ultamus as one part of a three-part data protection family, which also includes the REO disk-based backup appliance family and the NEO family of tape automation products.

Jeff Graham, senior product manager of Overland, called the Ultamus I a "protected primary storage appliance." By protected, he said the array's capacity can be virtualized into separate volumes, each of which can be mounted as a separate LUN.

Those LUNs can be protected with a number of built-in software capabilities, said Graham. These include an unlimited number of data snapshots, data replication and thin provisioning, which is the ability for a customer to allocate more capacity to an application or user than is physically available and adding the extra physical capacity at a later date.

In the Ultamus, data is replicated on a block-by-block basis instead of a file-by-file basis in order to make the most use of available bandwidth, Graham said. Data can be currently replicated only from one Ultamus array to another for now, he said. "Will Ultamus be able to replicate to a REO?" he said. "It makes sense. We're not doing it yet. But it makes sense."

Overland is targeting small and midsize enterprises who have a Microsoft Windows environment with data of under 30 Tbytes and a sub-1,000 user count, said Graham.

He said the company included the different data protection features with the array at no cost even though not all customers require them in order to make the Ultamus more channel-friendly. "We are a 100-percent channel company," he said. "We want to make it easier for our partners to sell."

Greg Knieriemen, vice president of marketing at Cleveland-based Chi, is one solution provider excited to see Overland release the Ultamus I.

"I'm encouraged that Overland Storage is taking such an aggressive stand in this space," Knieriemen said. "They need to. They have to expand beyond basic tape and backup. Now this gets them into the disaster recovery and business continuity space."

While Overland had talked about targeting enterprise accounts with the Ultamus, Knieriemen said the new array is definitely a small and midsize business play, mainly because enterprises have yet to become convinced that SATA hard drives are suitable for their data centers.

"Even in the SMB space, you still have to do some evangelizing for SATA," he said. "But in the SMB space, you don't have a big Oracle database pounding 24x7. SATA is a good play for SMBs. But there's enough concern so that VARs like us still have to evangelize."

The Ultamus I is expected to be available by November. Price has yet to be determined, said Graham, although he said he expects a street price of under $40,000 for an 8-Tbyte configuration.

By year-end, Overland also expects to unveil the Ultamus II, Graham said. It will be similar to the Ultamus I, except that it will have two controllers instead of one for high availability. Ultamus I arrays will be able to be field-upgraded to the Ultamus II with the addition of a second controller and an additional Fibre Channel path to the SAN, he said.

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