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Nexsan’s Appliance for Easy Archives

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There seems to be no stopping the appliance juggernaut. Outside of the storage world, appliances are finding an abundance of applications. They take care of encryption, anti-virus, anti-spyware, spam filtering, content filtering and a host of other functions.

Storage-specific appliances are also appearing on the market in record numbers. They, too, address a wide range of functions – backup, continuous data protection (CDP), NAS, and disaster recovery (DR) to name a few.

“Appliances that integrate many functions are growing well, but many of the single-function appliance markets are smaller and therefore exhibit even faster growth rates,” says Jeff Wilson, a network security analyst for Infonetics Research Inc. in Campbell, CA.

Assureon Appliance

One example is the Assureon NX Easy Archive Appliance by Nexsan Technologies of Woodland Hills, CA. It provides content addressable storage (CAS) for small and mid-size businesses (SMB). CAS is of particular value in terms of simplified management, protection and storage of a constantly growing amount of data.

This disk-based CAS appliance is designed for email archiving, medical imaging and records management, document management, and e-discovery. It helps IT to manage files throughout their lifecycle, and can be used to copy data across the WAN for disaster recovery purposes.

“The Assureon NX provides exceptional archiving and retrieval capabilities for smaller enterprises, branch offices and departmental groups,” says Brendan Kinkade, vice president of marketing for Nexsan. “It delivers smart, fast, and affordable online access to all fixed content information.”

Assureon NX provides the benefits of Nexsan’s Assureon Intelligent Archive System in a compact rackable appliance. Note, however, that it is intended as an archive, as opposed to primary storage. Say, for example, a company had a file server that contained documents, email or images. This appliance could interface with this server and its associated applications, and be used as a repository for all but recent or frequently used files.

What about the name “NX”? Kinkade relates that it refers to the NAS-style CIFS/NFS interface that allows for simple integration into a wide range of environments.

He says that the appliance can be installed in under an hour. Typically, he says, it takes about 15 minutes set up rules and the folders that will be available to end users.

It ships with 3.75 TB of usable storage capacity. The Assureon NX+ version holds up to 6 TB of capacity. This is an optional box that is deployed remotely to replicate data from one site to another.

CAS Functions

The NX appliance performs various CAS functions. This includes the running of file integrity checks automatically with auto-healing, file de-duplication features so multiple copies of the same document are not retained, and WORM disk functionality which prevents overwriting of files once they are written to disk. Digital fingerprint technology is used to authenticate records and prove they have not been tampered with.

While it is based on similar technology to the more heavy duty Assureon SA Searchable Archive Appliance, the NX does not have the content search functionality of the SA. NX’s secure storage architecture ensures the long-term integrity of all archived content through automated integrity checks with self-healing functions. It includes other powerful features such as built-in Lifecycle Management functions, immutable file authentication and remote replication across the WAN for disaster recovery purposes. Data availability is assured with RAID 6 protection while WORM disk functionality prevents overwriting of archived files.

Assureon NX is available in standalone or replicated versions and offers a plug-and-play NAS–like interface supporting both CIFS and NFS for simple connectivity to any operating system. Assureon NX can be deployed as a secure, cost-effective alternative to tape and other offline media, or as fast, intelligent and affordable disk-based enhancement to offline archives.

“The built-in authentication of the Assureon NX uses digital fingerprint technology to prove records have not been tampered with,” says Kinkade. “Its rules engine binds metadata to files, ands its patent pending ‘Serialization’ feature enables checks for missing files and preserves archive integrity.”

Pricing for Nexsan’s Assureon NX Easy Archive Appliance starts at $53,000.

Dianne McAdam, director of enterprise information assurance at analyst firm The Clipper Group, Inc. of Wellesley, MA, sees such CAS appliances as playing a vital role, particularly in the SME market.

“Small enterprise, branch office and departmental users often have the same requirements for long-term storage as their enterprise counterparts,” says McAdam. “The Assureon NX is a powerful product that fits their storage needs, while providing ease of use as well as being an affordable and secure solution.”

This article was first published on

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