Ellison's Pillar launches low-end storage system

Having built a reputation for sophisticated, pricey but easy-to-use storage systems, Pillar has launched an entry-level system that could appeal to SMEs

Pillar Data Systems, the storage system supplier that was the brainchild of Oracle's Larry Ellison, has launched a low-cost storage system aimed at the lucrative market among small and medium-sized companies.

The new system comes with 1.6TB of storage, scalable to 24TB, the modular Pillar software, Serial ATA (Sata) or Fibre Channel drives, fault tolerance and redundancy, and costs around £35,000 ($50,000 in the US). It is based on Pillar's Axiom storage platform, and is effectively a cut-down version of its AX 500 product.

Like all Pillar systems, it is based on the premise that you only need to buy what your company needs today. If you need to expand the storage later, you only pay for new drives and pay no extra licensing costs.

Pillar is also introducing systems that expand the Axiom outside its previous range of SAN and NAS storage only. It now supports iSCSI and Fibre Channel as well, the company said in its announcement on Tuesday.

"With this system we are able to bring the features and functionality down to a very low initial configuration,"  said Chris Drago, director of public relations at Pillar. "But by exploiting the architecture we are able to bring it up to the higher end of the architecture as well."

Pillar also announced new capabilities at the high end of the Axiom range. It now includes a faster 4Gbps Fibre Channel interface and has 100 percent improvement in NAS performance, the company said. Also, the capacity of the drives has been doubled to 380TB.

The company's president and chief executive, Mike Workman, believes the entry-level system will catch on because of the simplicity of the architecture.

"If you know how to use one of those systems you know how to use them all," he told ZDNet UK. "We had a lot of companies buying the AX 500, our base model, [but] it's a big product that you can do a lot with and it's a little large for remote offices. They can't afford an AX 500 in every office to the customers asked is for something that would be more appropriate."

Only in existence for just over a year, Pillar has been growing fast. Its UK launch came last October.

Workman told ZDNet UK that the company now has 20 enterprise customers in the UK, and employs over 50 people. It has 160 customers worldwide. UK customers include play.com and HBOS' Insight Investor.

Last month, Pillar won the Enterprise Product of the Year Award at the CNET Networks UK Technology Awards. CNET Networks UK is the publisher of ZDNet UK.

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