BY LISA COLEMAN
Last month, Novell started delivering a software-based network-attached storage (NAS) product that lets users leverage their directories to manage storage. NetDevice NAS is the first product in a line of new server appliances that is being shipped only as software and can be run on Novell-certified hardware, which Novell is now finalizing with various vendors such as Compaq, Dell, and IBM.
Users will be able to deploy the "soft" appliance on the hardware of their choice, as long as it's Novell-certified. Pricing starts at $1,799 MSRP.
NetDevice NAS is targeted at the workgroup and branch office midrange NAS market. "We feel that SANs [storage area networks] are a better strategy for most organizations in a data-center type of environment," says Dan Lawyer, Novell's product manager for storage services.
Specifically, Novell's NetDevice NAS addresses the difficulties of managing fleets of NAS systems-where each system is managed individually, islands of users are managed separately, and NAS hardware cannot be re-deployed, according to Novell. With NetDevice NAS, users can re-deploy existing hardware as a NAS system.
The company also claims that NetDevice NAS is the only NAS product to support the Novell Directory Services (NDS) eDirectory environment in addition to Windows, Unix, Linux, and Web-based clients. All environments have native access to the NAS product, and all users can be centrally managed across NetDevice NAS through eDirectory.
"The eDirectory provides you with a global information base that can be used to manage all your users, objects, and systems," explains Lawyer. NetDevice NAS can be merged with eDirectory to leverage its view of the entire enterprise system.
Novell's NAS product supports industry-standard file protocols, including Novell's NetWare Core Protocol (NCP), CIFS, NFS, HTTP, and FTP. Later revisions will support Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV) and AppleTalk File. In addition, NetDevice NAS offers namespace support for NDS, Windows Domain Controller, Windows Workgroup, Network Information Ser vices (NIS), and LDAP.
NetDevice NAS also enables eDirectory and Microsoft's Active Directory to work together, according to Lawyer. "We made [NetDevice NAS] flexible so that it can be deployed in any environment," says Lawyer. "We believe there is a significant advantage through the centralized management you get from eDirectory."
Lawyer believes the soft NAS appliance represents a shift in the NAS market because users will not have to buy new hardware to take advantage of NAS. He also predicts other companies will eventually offer soft NAS systems.