The Nexenta product proposition is simple: buy your disk arrays as software loaded onto commodity hardware. The Nexenta software is open source based on ZFS.
The business proposition is to release the proprietary hold which the array vendors have had on customers. Competition in this segment depended on customers weighing up features against price, but vendors have clearly been able to sustain healthy profit margins as demonstrated by their financial results.
Nexenta is not the only storage vendor with solutions build around commoditised storage hardware, but its pure open source software model is unique.
It is not so much that customers have been protesting about the vendor lock-in, but more a case of always wanting better and smarter features. Customers have accepted settling on a storage platform for 5 years or more appreciating realiability and stability. Meanwhile many new storage array companies were successfully launched enjoying the timing when old inadequate boxes needed replacing.
The commercial edition of Nexenta comes with unlimited capacity and extra features.
Rainmaker note: Some of the array manufacturers are likely to embrace the open source model for their SMB products. They still have the opportunity to differentiate on their hardware platforms, but sharing a controller code base with the competition will deliver cost efficiencies. And interoperability and management will be easier for customers.
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