Storage specialist OnStor is looking to tap into the growing demand for networked storage by launching Cougar 6000, a scale beyond the company's existing Bobcat range.

OnSTor's vice president for platform systems, Brian Stark said this was no reflection on Bobcat, which he claimed had been hugely successful, but he admitted that there were some limitations.

"Bobcat had a very low pricepoint but didn't offer much in the way of resilience," said Stark. "So if a single fan or a single motherboard broke, then it couldn't be replaced. Cougar offers much more replacable capacity. A motherboard can not only be replaced, but it can be replaced on the fly without customers suffering disruption of service."

Stack said that it was important for IT managers to have a product that was scalable and OnStor had concentrated on making that a major part of the product's features. "Cougar offers a higher degree of scalability," he said. "We offer scalability in three or four dimensions. First of all, there's scalability behind the filer. Customers can add 100TB and then another 100TB right up to a 4PB limit. Second, customers can add more filers to cluster up to four clusters in a box. Finally, each motherboard has 9 pairs of processor cores - we're only using 14 of them in the 6520 model and 12 of them in the 6720 - that gives us a further option for expansion."

Among its future plans, OnStor is looking at introducing connectivity to 10 Gig Ethernet around Q1 or Q2 of next year - "we'll need some of those spare cores for that," said Stack.

The other feature that Stack emphasised was the power consumption - an issue that occupies many data centre managers these days. "Our servers offer power consumption of 300w at peak - we have customers who run servers consuming 500 to 600w apiece. You could have 32 virtual servers per Cougar and to the customer the savings would be astounding," he said.

Stark said that Cougar compared favourably with its closest competitor, NetApp. "With Cougar, we have a product that, compared with the NetApp 600, means you can get as much performance at nearly half the cost."

Cougar's features include: dual NAS blade; 100K SpecSFS ops per filer; multi-protocol (NFS, CIFS) file serving and some advanced features such as n-way high availability clustering, server virtualisation, and pooled storage management.

The product starts shipping to Europe next week. The starting price is $122,500 (£62,000). Stark is highly optimistic about it. "We're expecting to sell 3,000 to 4,000 units worldwide over the next few years."