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Affordable NAS

Linksys targets small business with NSS line for storage and backup needs

Cisco Systems’ Linksys Division has released its first line of network-attached storage aimed at small business and the SOHO market.
Called the NSS line, the four-bay Gigabit units come in a series of four machines with an entry-level price of under $1,000 for a unit with 750Gbs of capacity.

“We fit into small business,” said Bob Martin, channel account manager for Linksys Canada, based in Mississauga, Ont.

Linksys’ goal is to give consumers the power to take full advantage of broadband capabilities. It wants to converge devices so that users do not need five different set-top boxes, for example, said Trevor Bratton, a spokesman for Linksys in the U.S.

“We believe in the human network, so you do not have to follow your favourite baseball team anymore. The baseball team follows you,” Bratton said.

While the NSS line is aimed at small business, Linksys is positioning itself as an entertainment content enabler, Bratton added.

The division will be coming out with a wireless Gigabit gaming router that has the capability to prioritize latency for enhanced networked gaming and console players.

New look
The NSS line, along with other products from Linksys, will have a new look, with silver and black cases.

“Industrial design is important because it will sit in the stereo stack, not in the back room,” Martin said.

NSS units, which will be available in the second quarter, will function as a standalone NAS bay. “It will show up as a drive on your PC, not as a client,” Martin added.

The units have USB drives and are intended to take significant levels of processing away from the PC.

According to Martin, the NSS line is a true channel play, not just a storage sale. VARs can add capacity as needed on their own since Linksys is not a hard drive maker.

Linksys has slowly transformed itself into a player in the growing small business space.

The philosophy behind this approach is that small businesses require high-end solutions, whether the company has five employees or 200 PC environments.

Linksys Canada is trying to recruit more solution providers and develop its current reseller network to become larger VARs so they can sell more, said Martin in a previous interview with CDN.

“We are looking for the VA VAR – the real value added value added reseller. We are developing a program to incent and reward the partners so that they can sell more Linksys product and build better solutions on managed switches, Ethernet, and VoIP,” he said.

Those financial incentives will be 11 per cent more for an authorized partner than one that just acquires the product from distribution, he said.

Linksys also released six new fully managed Layer-2 switches designed specifically for the small business market. These new switches are part of the Linksys Business Series line of products.