Auspex stages NAS comeback

Posted on June 01, 2001

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BY LISA COLEMAN

With the release of its first network-attached storage (NAS) product since January 1999, Auspex last month made an aggressive bid for a piece of the enterprise NAS market. The company lost traction in the market after a series of bad business decisions and other problems since it shipped its first NAS server in 1988. Now the company claims to be back on its feet.

Auspex hopes to grab a piece of the lucrative enterprise NAS space dominated by Network Appliance and EMC. The overall NAS market is predicted to increase from $1.8 billion in 2000 to $14.7 billion by 2004, according to market research firm International Data Corp.


The NS3000 hit the streets in mid-May at 500GB. By year-end, the NS3000 will scale to 72TB.
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Auspex's NS3000 is a family of NAS servers that can store 500GB to 72TB on a single device. The server will offer the largest capacity in the industry, the company claims. The NS3000 provides clustering, software mirroring, RAID mirroring, server-to-server replication, LAN-free tape backup, and network fail-over. Its OneWorld software maintains security and file locking between Unix and Windows files. The first NS3000 device to hit the streets offers 500GB at $139,500 (including software) for NT environments. For a 500GB device that handles both NT and Unix, the price is $164,500. A version with 72TB scalability will be available in the fourth quarter.

"We think we have the right software functionality and features to compete with [EMC's] Celerra/Symmetrix as well as Network Appliance's F840. Now it's a matter of re-establishing ourselves in the marketplace," says Bob Iacono, vice president of marketing at Auspex.

The company is no stranger to the NAS market. It was the first vendor to ship NAS servers, and by the mid-1990s it was a $250 million company. But through a succession of different engineering managers with various plans, Auspex shipped product that didn't meet customer expectations. "The company lost its way," Iacono admits.

With the help of consulting firm Regent Pacific, Auspex was crafted into a leaner, more-strategically fo-cused company with a mission of concentrating on enterprise NAS for heterogeneous environments. Regent Pacific also helped refinance the company, and last summer, Auspex completed a public offering and raised more than $90 million.

To help increase its penetration into the enterprise NAS space, Auspex is pumping up its sales and distribution capabilities by partnering with Insight and Bell Microproducts.

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