Gateway enters SAN, NAS markets

By Lisa Coleman

In a move that may propel Gateway into the competitive storage area network (SAN) market, the company last week announced that it will resell Hitachi Data Systems' Thunder 9500V series storage systems. However, Gateway will face an uphill battle trying to match the success of the Dell-EMC relationship, according to analysts

"It's kind of a weird match because the HDS Thunder platform is a midrange product with pricing that's well beyond what Gateway is used to doing," says Jamie Gruener, senior analyst for The Yankee Group.

Gateway also entered the network-attached storage (NAS) market with its own entry-level NAS appliance based on Microsoft's Windows Storage Server 2003 and Serial ATA disk drives. Gateway entered the storage market in September with JBOD and RAID arrays and, more recently, an LTO autoloader. However, this will be the company's first time selling SAN and NAS devices.

While the Windows-based NAS market remains extremely competitive, analysts say that the real challenge for Gateway will be in the midrange SAN market, where the company will compete with Dell, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Network Appliance, and Sun.

"The reason Dell has been able to be successful in this model is not just because it can put a part number on the price list. There are a lot of services that go around making the stuff work. Unless Gateway defers those services to Hitachi, it's going to be difficult for them," says Steve Duplessie, founder and senior analyst of the Enterprise Storage Group.

Gateway plans to provide a comprehensive array of support services, according to Scott Weinbrandt, senior vice president of Gateway's Enterprise Systems Division (and also an ex-Dell manager who developed Dell's storage and server line).

Gateway's SAN support portfolio includes a relationship with IBM Global Services for a variety of enterprise-class professional services and rapid response services. Meanwhile, Gateway and HDS will deliver joint service, support, installation, and deployment of the 9500V series. Gateway will not brand the 9500V as its own product.

Gateway will target sales of the 9500V (which sells for an average of $50,000) at small and medium-sized businesses, a market segment largely ignored by many larger storage vendors, says Yankee Group's Gruener.

While well-known for its consumer products, Gateway receives 50% of its total revenues from the business sector. It also has a significant share of the SMB market with its desktop and mobile products, according to Weinbrandt.

Gateway's other new storage products include the model 860 NAS device, which scales up to 1TB and can support up to four hot-swappable 80GB, 160GB, or 250GB Serial ATA drives. It uses an Intel Celeron or Pentium 4 processor and includes 512MB of error-correcting memory as well as a built-in RAID controller. The NAS device also features two 64-bit, 33MHz PCI slots, one mini-PCI slot, dual Gigabit Ethernet slots, two USB 2.0 connectors, and a CD-ROM drive. Pricing starts at $3,199 for 320GB.

Gateway also announced the model 840 Serial ATA RAID array and systems management software called Gateway System Manager (GSM) 3.0.

Separately, Hewlett-Packard announced Monday that it is cranking up its SMB initiative with a new storage family built on its StorageWorks Modular Smart Array (MSA) subsystems and ProLiant servers.

The MSA30 and MSA500 are direct-attached storage (DAS) systems that cost $3,999 and $5,700, respectively. Its MSA1000 is an entry-level SAN storage array targeted at companies transitioning from DAS to SAN. It is priced at $9,995.

This article was originally published on November 25, 2003