NetApp StoreVault S300 Review: Storage for the Growing SMB

NetApp StoreVault S300
This system is a good first attempt at reconfiguring an outstanding enterprise-level platform to meet the NAS needs of SMBs. But while the NetApp StoreVault S300 performs well, it’s costly and requires a good deal of technical expertise to install.

You purchase the StoreVault through VARs—and take it from me, most SMBs will be better off having a VAR do the install, too. The NAS runs an OS you’re not likely to know—a slim version of NetApp’s Data ONTAP 7G enterprise storage OS—rather than embedded Linux, Windows Storage Server, or some other familiar product. NetApp has tried to make the admin front end easy to use, though. It still needs work, but the average SMB IT generalist should do fine with management tasks.

The S300 has an upper storage limit of 3TB and can live on a shelf or tabletop (the S500, a rack-mount unit, tops out at 6TB). Performance was outstanding: 64-plus MBps writes, 59-MBps reads using jumbo frames—and that was with RAID 5; without jumbo frames, 61 MBps and 54 MBps. StoreVault devices also build in tremendous flexibility. I tested with the internal iSCSI RAID array that shipped with the S300, but the box can connect to either an iSCSI or a Fibre Channel SAN, provided that you purchase the appropriate option license. That means you can start with the StoreVault as the hub of your small business storage and simply build a larger networked storage resource around it as your needs change; so if your business is growing by leaps and bounds this is an excellent solution.

If your business is expanding at a less frenetic pace, though, look for something more modest, like the Netgear ReadyNAS NV+.

NetApp StoreVault S300 Review
Price Range: $2,500, list; 500GB drives, $500 each; CIFS license, $249
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