British company StorMagic is set to shake up the virtualised storage market by launching a virtual SAN for small to medium businesses.

The StorMagic SvSAN is a storage virtual appliance that draws on the internal memory within the company's servers to create a cluster.

To encourage quick take-up of the product, the Bristol-based company has launched the basic version of the product as a free download, customers only paying for the high availability (HA) and for higher capacity. The free version, which will be available for a limited period, will offer up to 2TB of storage; the product will scale up to an unlimited amount of storage, however. Prices start at £700 per node.

StorMagic CTO Chris Farey said that the company was not the only one offering virtual SANs but "we like to think that we do it better than other people." He cited two areas where he thought that StorMagic was particularly strong was the deep integration with Vmware and the ease of manageability.

No-one else has the deep integration with ESX and no-one else has the management features that we have," he said. He also cited ease-of-use, an important consideration for SMBs without dedicated storage managers. "You could have a virtual SAN running in a couple of minutes," he added.

The product also enables users to take advantage of high-end features of VMware such as VMotion without the need for an external SAN. The SvSAN also integrates with VMware vCenter,

Customers will testify to the ease of use. "After a simple software download, we set up our virtual SAN in minutes, and we are now able to manage the SAN, datastores and internal RAID through one tool. Having integrated management made things a lot easier for us," said Gavin Murrill, network administrator at Make-A-Wish Foundation.

"The StorMagic SvSAN pretty much takes control of our storage, leveraging internal storage resources. We can now easily and cost-effectively build a highly available environment without the complexity of traditional systems."