Cisco is expanding into new territory with their NSS 300 series: a new family of small-scale storage servers for small businesses. Models include a 2-, 4- and 6-bay version. These products are aimed at small shops on a tight budget; the smallest unit starts at just $913.
Think these look familiar? They might. Cisco has partnered with QNAP to provide these smaller storage systems, and although the cases have been redesigned the still remind me of the original QNAP versions.
The feature set looks quite similar as well, with all models offering both iSCSI and NAS services. The NSS 322 takes two drives, offering RAID1 for data protection; the larger NSS 324 and NSS 326 take 4 and 6 drives respectively, offering RAID5 and RAID6 functionality for extra protection. The largest supported disk size is 2TB, leading to a maximum of 12 TB in raw storage for the largest model.
The main added value I see from buying the Cisco version is the availability of support contracts; with a Small Business Pro Service contract Cisco offers a very compelling set of services:
The Cisco Small Business Pro Service provides small businesses with three years of technical support, including Software updates, online chat support 24 hours a day, next business-day hardware replacement as necessary, call support during local business hours and extended access to the Cisco Small Business Support Center.
The Small Business Pro Service is available or $149 for most configurations. All current models in the NSS 300 series are desktop models; QNAP does offer various rackmountable units with capacities of up to 16 TB. There is no word yet about when, if ever, these will be available from Cisco.