Cisco Systems is targeting the small-business market -- specifically companies with fewer than 100 employees -- with its latest storage product. The Cisco Small Business NSS 300 Series Smart Storage aims to help small businesses deal with rapidly growing electronic information.
The NSS 300 Series is a desktop network storage solution that integrates business apps. Cisco's goal is to give small businesses a secure way to store and share critical business data.
But do small businesses really need a Cisco storage product? Ray Boggs, vice president of SMB research at IDC, sees the fit. "Over half of small businesses expect their storage needs to increase in the next 12 months, and about a third of those expecting growth identify expanding storage capacity or improving storage management as one their top IT priorities," he said.
A One-Stop Storage Shop
Cisco's NSS 300 Series offers two-bay, four-bay, and six-bay desktop network storage units. According to Cisco, the devices can provide up to 12 terabytes of capacity with two-terabyte drives.
Cisco is billing it as a single storage solution with integrated business applications, sort of a one-stop shop for storage and related apps where small-business customers can protect and share information more efficiently. Built-in applications include a user-configurable web server with an integrated WordPress publishing platform. Built-in servers work to streamline user authentication and management of the network.
On the security front, Cisco promises secure remote access while guarding against unauthorized access. Cisco accomplishes this through on-disk data encryption. That means even if the hard drives are stolen, critical data is protected. Most small-business storage solutions don't offer this feature.
The network attached storage devices also make way for small businesses to schedule power on/off according to working hours. It also conserves power with an Energy Star V-rated power adapter and hard drives that spin down on inactivity.
Is the Price Right?
NSS 300 Series list prices range from $913 to $5,625, depending on the model. The features may turn heads and the brand name is solid, but is the price right for small businesses?
"There are less-expensive solutions out there, but this does carry the Cisco brand on it, which a lot of people have looked at historically as the premium-priced brand," said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst at Yankee Group. "But this comes in at a reasonable enough price; when you couple that with Cisco's brand, it seems to be a pretty attractive offer."
Kerravala said Cisco's move into small-business storage is a smart one, as no company owns more than 10 percent of the small-business market on the technology front. He sees plenty of opportunities for Cisco in storage.
"This is an interesting market for Cisco to move into. A few years ago I wouldn't have bet they would make their way into servers, and they did. Now they are a server vendor and a storage vendor," Kerravala said. "You have to sort of wonder where it stops for Cisco."
Posted: 2010-06-11 @ 9:46pm PT
According to my calculations, pricing for the new NSS 300 Series Smart Storage Models range from $648.79 to $3,993.95