The companies said they will offer what they called "solution packs" to customers. The bundles will include ZyXEL's XGS1900 series Web-managed smart 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) switches, as well as QNAP's TS-x70 series network-attached storage (NAS) appliance.
Because many small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) rely on virtualization to save money, the 10 GbE-equipped NAS would be beneficial to SMBs because the network performance can alleviate network congestion, according to the companies.
W. Curtis Preston, founder of Truth in IT and Backup Central, said virtualization data stores on network file systems (NFS) are easier to manage than storage area network (SAN)-based systems.
"If these systems are able to handle the performance requirements of virtualization, while bringing the cost down to the SMB level, that would be a great thing," he said.
ZyXEL's XGS1900 series includes the XGS1910-24 switch, which comes with two enhanced, small form-factor SFP+ ports for 10 GbE uplinks and stacking. The company said the feature eliminates the need for additional modules for 10 GbE support. It's paired with QNAP's 8-bay TS-870U-RP, which is equipped with dual-core 2.4 Ghz Intel processors and can be loaded with up to 16 GB of DDR3 RAM, and can store up to 32 TB. The bundle is priced at $3,100, according to the companies.
The XGS1910-48 has four of the enhanced ports. It's paired with the 12-bay TS-1270U-RP, which can store up to 48 TB, and the package is available for $4,300.
Greg Schulz, founder of Stillwater, Minn.-based Storage IO, said QNAP and ZyXEL's storage and networking 10 GbE NAS is a cost-effective product that removes complexity for SMB and small office/home office (SOHO) users.
"For those who do not already have a 10 GbE switch and [are] looking to expand or add some NAS capabilities, this can be a good option upgrade or expansion option, assuming interoperability exists with your current technologies," Schulz said. "Over the past ten years, 10 GbE has steadily gone from being a niche [that is] only affordable to the rich and famous, where now with adapters/NICs, switches and other components -- not to mention storage systems – [it has become] affordable for more markets, including SMB and SOHO."
Schulz said that while a single server or a storage system may not require all of the bandwidth available with 10 GbE, the aggregate of network activities can cause "aggravation." He noted that 10GbE also offers lower latency and response time benefits for applications.
"For SMBs with virtualization needs, if QNAP and ZyXEL can leverage their current capabilities while increasing their support for Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware vSphere or ESXi environments, particularly around management plugins, those all would be great steps forward to addressing ease of use and acquisitions," he said.