Punching Up Storage Virtualization

Punch Networks has introduced a new suite of Punch Paris turnkey storage appliances for enterprises seeking “a stand-alone, fully-encrypted hardware and software storage solution.”

The Punch Paris server software is an application-level secure storage virtualization solution, a type of solution that the company says has until now only been appropriate for larger-scale data center environments. Punch is hoping to change that with its new suite.

Punch Networks President, Chairman, and founder David Campbell says the company’s new “LM” products differ from storage virtualization in that “we do it at the application level, not at the I/O level,” with SDKs and APIs for application integration.

“Virtualization companies focus on access across the network, but our view is that is just the start of it,” comments Campbell. “The files at the center of it have to be absolutely secure.”

The Punch Paris server packages consist of a base platform of standard high-end server hardware and Punch Networks’ flagship software suite, which includes Punch Paris 4.0 Platinum Edition. Upon engagement by a customer, Punch Networks staff will review customer expectations for performance, scalability, and fault tolerance, and then prepare and verify each appliance before shipment and installation at a customer site.

“With the introduction of our LM class family of Paris server packages, Punch Networks can now offer customers a broad range of scalable turnkey secure Internet-oriented file servers in compact, easy to deploy, and easy to manage pre-configured packages,” says Campbell.

The LM5 server package, the largest pre-configured, fully-encrypted system, is designed for heavy usage corporate environments and Internet web sites. The LM5 has an 8U form factor and includes redundancy capabilities, 4 GB RAM, and dual Intel Pentium Xeon 1.5+ GHz processors. The package also features a dual-channel SCSI controller, external SCSI connector, dual 10/100 Mbps Ethernet NICs, and six Seagate Cheetah Ultra 160 SCSI hard drives that provide over 1 TB of local storage. According to the company, the Paris LM5 Server stack can also be used as an application-level in-band encrypted storage virtualization appliance in front of existing investments in heterogeneous multi-vendor storage systems, switches, hubs, servers, and management software.

LM4 is a pre-configured, fully-encrypted system designed for mid-sized enterprise environments, and includes dual 1.1+ GHz Pentium III processors, 2GB of RAM, a dual-channel SCSI controller, dual 10/100 Ethernet NICs, and six Seagate Cheetah Ultra 160 SCSI hard drives that provide up to 882 GB of local storage, all in a 4U form factor.

The LM3 package is a pre-configured turnkey fully-encrypted solution designed for smaller enterprise environments, and includes a 4U form factor, dual Pentium III 800 MHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, dual 10/100 Ethernet NICs, and five Seagate Barracuda Ultra ATA/100 hard drives that provide up to 300 GB of local storage.

The products range from $20,000-$50,000.

Punch Plans Unique Franchise Model

Having been stung by the downturn in technology, Punch plans a unique business model for its LM offerings.

After partnerships with some big-name technology companies didn’t work out as planned, Punch had to slash its payroll from 63 employees to 12.

Punch will initially focus on the Seattle, Portland, Oregon, and Los Angeles markets, with L.A.’s 85,000 small businesses the primary target. Punch plans to build a regional sales force, with the goal of duplicating WebGroups’ 70% profitability in each new market. Through franchising, Punch hopes to expand to 30-40 regional sales centers within two years. With that model, Campbell says he won’t have to give away big chunks of the company to raise capital.

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Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for Time.com, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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