VA Linux Releases NAS Server
Linux Systems, Inc. recently introduced the VA Linux 9205 NAS system,
a 2U (3.5-inch-high) storage appliance that leverages VA's expertise in
Open Source software and high-density Linux systems engineering. The VA
Linux 9205 NAS is VA's first network-attached storage (NAS) solution,
complementing the company's product line, which is the industry's broadest
selection of 1U and 2U rackmount Linux servers.
to 2.1 terabytes in an ultradense 8U form factor, the 9205 NAS provides
industry-leading storage density - over 10TB in a standard 42U rack -
providing the ideal network file sharing solution for e-businesses in
ISP data centers, where space is at a premium. The VA Linux 9205 NAS offers
seamless file sharing across multiple platforms - Linux, UNIX, Microsoft
Windows and Mac OS - enabling transparent file access in heterogeneous
at under $29,300 for 180GB of storage, the VA Linux 9205 is the first
in a family of NAS solutions from VA Linux Systems. All VA Linux NAS products
feature an extensive service and support package - VA's award-winning
"Total Linux Coverage (TLC)" for NAS - including one year of unlimited
24x7 technical support and onsite service and three years of comprehensive
VA Linux is trying to cash in on a confluence of two key trends: the rising
popularity of Linux, and the growth of the Network-Attached Storage market.
While NAS market leader Network Appliance is focusing on the high-end
market with their NetFiler 800 series, VA Linux has chosen to go after
the lower-end market.
The NetFiler series currently tops out at over $1 Million; the VA 9205
will go for around $130K (for around 2 TB). If you only look at $/GB,
the VA system provides more storage per dollar (we estimate around $65/GB
vs. around $85/GB for NetApp planned 12TB system, which is expected in
January 2001). Judging systems solely on the $/GB basis is risky, though.
The performance comparison is less clear, since there is no single performance
standard for NAS systems. However, Network Appliance highlights their
SPECsfs and NetBench scores.
providing a system which supports Linux - primarily, but not exclusively
- VA Linux's system will help the NAS market to grow even faster than
has been already projected. The lower price tag (under $30K to start)
will also make NAS systems reachable for smaller customers.
players in the NAS market include EMC, Auspex, Compaq, Procom (which partners
with HP), and Quantum (which partners with Dell). We see Auspex competing
more against NetApp than against VALinux, although VA literature includes
Auspex in a comparison table.
If your funds are limited, and you're not committed to Network Appliance
or one of the other better-known NAS vendors, researching the VA 9205
is worth your time. The features are respectable, the size (2U in a rack)
and storage density (10+ TB in a 42U rack) are excellent. Linux-philes
(both Linux-only and those with mixed environments containing Linux) will
also gravitate to this machine. VA Linux has no published benchmark data,
so performance may be an issue.
those with more money, the Network Appliance NetFiler840 provides high
performance, in terms of operations/second and overall response time (as
measured by the SPECsfs97 benchmark) and throughput (as measured by NetBench).
Unfortunately for those customers wanting the "12TB version", it will
not be available until NetApp's software (Data ONTAP) is upgraded, probably
in January, 2001. Until then, the upper limit for the 840 is 6 TB.