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Overland Completes Reorganization; Launch New iSCSI SAN Product

Overland Storage has come through a corporate restructuring by today introducing its first iSCSI storage area network (SAN) appliance designed to simplify storage deployment and management for midsized companies. Overland, which has replaced its CEO and other top executives with storage industry veterans over the last year, unveiled the SnapServer SAN S2000, a $15,000 (starting price) device that features automated provisioning, compatibility with multiple operating systems and a simplified management dashboard for companies lacking a deep IT bench.

The SnapServer introduction repositions the 29-year-old Overland to expand beyond its tape storage legacy into SAN and to serve one of the fastest-growing segments of the disk storage market, iSCSI SAN products selling in the $15,000 to $20,000 range. Snap also allows Overland to emerge as a seller of name brand storage and less of an OEM supplier to other companies.

"We want to be able to deliver to the midsized market technology that a lot of large organizations are able to deploy because they have the resources and the budget to do that," said Jillian Mansolf, vice president of sales and marketing at the San Diego-based firm. "The midsized market [is] facing all the same challenges."

SnapServer is based on Snap network-attached storage (NAS) products Overland acquired from Adaptec in 2008. The basic system is a 2U 19-inch rack-mounted appliance that stores up to 24 terabytes (TB) of data. Expansion units can be purchased starting at $3,000 each that can extend system capacity to 120TB. The SAN S2000 supports Windows, Linux, Mac OS X or Novell NetWare operating systems as well as VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization. It is also designed to combine set-up, allocation, replication, data protection and other chores into one dashboard, said Mansolf.

"We've got one application that has...one screen where you can manage your entire infrastructure," she said. With plug-and-play architecture and a Windows based, Wizard-like user interface, "we take 20 steps down to two or three mouse clicks."

SnapServer also automates storage expansion. Typically, storage "volumes" are assigned to different departments in a company but some departments use up their capacity more quickly than others. With SnapServer, when one storage volume reaches, say, 80 percent of capacity, the system is programmed to automatically add 20 percent more capacity to that volume, then e-mail the system administrator about the change, said Mansolf.

Simplifying storage with the SnapServer should appeal to midsized companies looking for a cost-effective solution, said Eric Kelly, CEO and president of Overland. "If they spend a dollar procuring the hardware, they probably spend four or five dollars actually managing it," said Kelly, who joined Overland's board in 2007, became CEO in Jan. 2009 and added the duties of president last month.

Kelly is one of several new executives hired over the last year or so to refocus Overland. Mansolf, for instance, was hired last July because of her expertise in sales and marketing of name brand storage appliances, including work at Snap Appliance when it was a separate company. Overland  had been predominantly an OEM supplier in the past - up to 70 percent of its business had been with HP - and now the HP business is just 15 percent, said Kelly.

Overland hired Chris Gopal as vice president of operations because he knows contract manufacturing. Overland is contracting with FoxConn to manufacture its products at a facility in Houston, while converting its San Diego plant into a repair facility. Why the hiring of storage veterans? "This is not the environment for the company for people to be doing it for the first time," Kelly said.

By targeting the medium-sized iSCSI SAN market, Overland is fishing where the fish are. The market for such systems priced up to $25,000 is forecast by IDC to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 34.3 percent between now and 2013, said IDC analyst Ben Woo. "Centralization and the networking of storage enables better capacity utilization...in order to deal with explosive data growth," Woo said. "Data actually generates more data."

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