By Zachary Shess
Sun Microsystems, a pioneering network-attached storage (NAS) vendor, re-entered the NAS server market last month by introducing the StorEdge N8000 filer line, which supports the NFS and CIFS protocols.
The first StorEdge model, the N8200, is currently shipping, and can scale from 200GB to 800GB. Prices start at $54,000 for a 200GB configuration. In September, Sun expects to release the N8400 and N8600 models, which will scale up to 6TB and 10TB, respectively.
"The reason for entering the NAS market is that there's an increasing need from the service providers and dotcoms, who are seeing storage needs grow 100% annually, to separate the storage from the application servers," says Shiva Mandalam, group manager in Sun's network storage division. "Scaling storage with a NAS device is much faster than upgrading servers."
Industry analysts anticipate that Sun's considerable presence in the Internet space will help generate market share against formidable foes EMC and Network Appliance.
Sun's NAS entry also bodes well for the future of the NAS market, as it grows into more than a niche storage option. Market research firm Dataquest, in San Jose, predicts that end-user spending on high-end NAS devices (more than seven drives) will increase from less than $1 billion in 1999 to almost $6 billion in 2004.