SAN FRANCISCO—Intel Corp. is pushing some of its latest Atom processors for use in network-attached storage (NAS) devices that deliver "personal cloud" storage to small businesses and consumers.
Intel Thursday (Oct. 4) launched an Atom-based storage platform combining multimedia capabilities, energy efficiency and performance for NAS devices. The platform, based on the Atom D2550 or Atom D2500, is billed as a solution for small businesses and consumers grappling with exploding storage needs in a secure, accessible way.
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"With the huge number of devices coming out, from traditional laptops—which have been with us for decades—to tablets to smartphones, the opportunities for consuming data are huge," said David Tuhy, general manager of Intel's storage division, at a briefing here Thursday.
There are already NAS devices using previous generations of Atom on the market. But with the launch of its Atom-based storage platform Thursday, Intel trotted out new NAS systems using it made by customers Asustor, QNAP and Thecus. More firms are expected to launch systems based on the platform in the near future, Intel said.
Asustor storage device featuring from 2 to 8 HDD bays, based Intel's Atom D2550 and D2500 processors.
NAS devices are file-level computer data storage systems that connect to a computer network. According to Intel, the devices provide small businesses like retailers and medical and legal offices with on-site solutions to store data that can be accessed both locally and remotely. Using them, businesses are able to provide employees with a "personal cloud" they can access from any connected device. NAS devices also serve as a handy way to back up crucial data, Tuhy said.
Intel markets its higher-end Xeon processors for bigger data storage applications like servers. But, for NAS devices, which typically have two or four hard drives, Atom offers sufficient capability, Tuhy said.
"We think we have a really compelling price point solution with Atom in this category," Tuhy said.
The market for NAS devices is expected to grow from about $6 billion last year to $8.5 billion in 2016, according to International Data Corp.
Intel said its Atom-based storage solution features built-in hardware acceleration for HD content (video surveillance and playback as well as media playback), support for multiple operating sytems, including Microsoft Windows and Linux, and support for software-based RAID data safeguards so that files are recoverable even if a hard-drive fails. The solution also offers scalable I/O connectivity to support four to six SATA drives with hot-plug capability of up to 14 USB ports and integrated support for digital display and dual display, as well as up to 4 GB of main memory.
I'm happy with the system -- a Netgear ReadyNAS Ultra with 4 bays -- and I populated each bay with 2TB. I am disappointed though that it didn't come with any 3rd party backup software, and the backup client in Windows 7 Home Premium, to my amazement, does not support backups to a network drive. Really, in this day and age Microsoft?
Rather than invest in Windows 7 Professional or Enterprise or whatever, I just shopped around for a 3rd party backup program that met my needs.
I have been shopping for a home NAS system. Decent hardware is coming down in price, but NAS software seems to be lagging. Microsoft has taken a step backwards in their latest offering. NAS vendors that develop their own software seem to have holes as well. Are you happy with your system Frank?
My home NAS system uses an Atom, and while I would prefer a fanless system, the fan noise is really only noticeable at bootup. Once the system is up and running, the fan slows down and it is very quiet.
@resistion- no, I don't think you are supposed to lug an NAS around with you. The idea is you have it plugged in and connected at your office, and you can access the data from your desk or remotely from a smartphone, tablet, notebook or other device. It's your own "cloud."
Make your ATOM fanless before you shot for personal cloud, the reason I avoid ATOM-NAS is not just the cost, but the noisy fan.
On the other hand, Marvell and Freescale's NAS chip can both be fanless and are as powerful, if not more.