Intel Corp has launched a white-box NAS device that is powered by its ARM-derived XScale processor, and runs a Linux operating system.
Like its white-box servers, the Entry Storage System SS4000-E is aimed at channel partners who will re-brand the device and sell it at suggested prices ranging from $700 to $2,000. The device will scale to 2TB.
Linux might seem an odd choice of operating system for the box, given the preference of many small and even mid-sized businesses for Windows. But the XScale processor is unable to run the NAS-tailored Windows 2003 Storage Server OS, which hugely dominates the low-end of the NAS market.
Computer Business Review had not been able to ask Intel by press time last night why it had not launched a box built around a Pentium or Celleron chip, which could run Windows 2003 Storage Server. Cost may well have been a major factor.
The highest-profile supplier of Linux-powered NAS is Adaptec Inc’s Snap division. Snap was struggling before Adaptec bought it last year, and judging by Adaptec’s u-turn in strategy and decision last year to sell it, is still not seeing spectacular sales. Ironically, Snap has attempted to differentiate itself via its distinction as a Linux adherent.