Gridstore Builds Managed Services Partner Channel

Gridstore Builds Managed Services Partner Channel

Gridstore is targeting managed service providers with its SMB-oriented network attached storage product, which creates a storage grid of NAS devices that can be managed through a Microsoft Management Console snap-in. Here are some details.

Gridstore, based in Palo Alto, Calif. with development facilities in Dublin, Ireland, positions its NASg offering in the space between standalone NAS devices and enterprise storage products. The company believes it offers MSPs -- and their customers -- a managed storage offering with better economics than traditional file servers.

Kelly Murphy, Gridstore’s chief executive officer, said  a 50- to 100-user organization might spend $5,000 or $6,000 for a 4 or 5 T NAS deployment. A NASg installation of similar capacity would cost in a range of less than $2,500 to $3,000. He said MSPs can wrap their own services around NASg and still offer customers a solution that costs less than buying another file server.

“The small- or mid-sized business an MSP is managing can’t afford a high-end storage system,” Murphy said. “They rely on file servers and may end up with the typical issue of storage sprawl.”

Gridstore’s grid approach virtualizes NAS devices so they appear as a single pool  of storage. Customers who need to grow their storage capacity add another node to the pool. The storage nodes in the the grid are 1U devices that use Intel Atom processors, Microsoft Windows Embedded Standard 7, and contain a 1 or 2 T drive. Gridstore partners with Avnet to build the storage nodes. Avnet also handles   fulfillment chores.

Client devices -- desktops, laptops or servers -- run a NASg software component that lets them tap storage resources in the grid.

Murphy said Gridstore helps MSPs reduce the cost of managing customers’ infrastructure. An MSP would usually have to dispatch a technician to a customer’s site in order to add capacity. With Gridstore, MSPs send a new node -- via Avnet -- to the customer, who has only to plug in a network and power cable, Murphy said.

As for managing the grid, MSPs can make use of Gridstore’s NASg console, a Microsoft Management Console snap-in. While the console lets MSPs remotely reach out to NASg devices, Gridstore also pulls in event information.

“In the opposite direction, we provide SNMP and WMI events that can flow back out” to an MSP’s network operations center.

Murphy said he’s been validating the company’s approach with MSPs, noting that Gridstore has been working with about ten service providers. He said the company plans to launch a channel program in Q1.

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