NetApp discontinues SMB storage appliance

No more upgrades but NetApp will continue supporting the product for three more years.

NetApp is killing off StoreVault, a network storage appliance designed for small and midsize businesses. While NetApp will not provide any further product upgrades for StoreVault, which had recently been renamed the S Family/S550, NetApp will continue supporting the product for three more years. A notice sent to customers last week said new sales of the S550 will be limited to the quantity on hand.

"NetApp will not provide any further product enhancements for the S550," the company said in a statement e-mailed to Network World. "We will however continue to provide our S550 customers with the same level of service they have come to expect through 2012."

NetApp is dropping the low-end storage array to focus its resources on midsize enterprises and large companies. This means that going forward NetApp will design products only for businesses that have at least 100 employees and at least one dedicated IT professional. With StoreVault, NetApp had been targeting smaller businesses that may not even have full-time IT staffers. (Compare storage products.)

"Moving forward, NetApp will reorganize its entry level storage platforms to better serve our MSE [mid-sized enterprise] and enterprise customers," NetApp said. "We will focus our efforts on building out our award-winning FAS2000 series by launching the new FAS2020 product bundles that are geared specifically for the MSE market. These bundles will provide MSE customers with enterprise level performance at a mid-market price along with easier ordering options."

StoreVault, which debuted in 2006, can scale up to 12TB and has out-of-the-box capabilities for network-attached storage, iSCSI storage-area network, and direct-attached storage. Pricing started at about US$5,000.

Several customers expressed frustration over NetApp's decision in online comment boards, with one person who recently purchased an S550 saying the discontinuation harms NetApp's credibility.

NetApp said it is now including the S550 in an upgrade/trade-in program and urged customers to consider the new FAS2020 product bundles, which will be released this month and consist of high-capacity, low-cost SATA drives.

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