Midrange NAS race heats up

Posted on March 01, 2001

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BY LISA COLEMAN

On the heels of EMC's entry into the midrange network-attached storage (NAS) market, Network Appliance and Dell Computer are diving in with midrange products of their own. And Compaq is moving from midrange to enterprise-level NAS by adding clustering to its TaskSmart N-Series of appliances.

Network Appliance's three new filer series start at $13,900 for the F85, which is scalable to 648GB and can be installed in 15 minutes, according to company claims. A 216GB F85 is priced at $17,400. The company also introduced the F820, which offers 3TB, starting at $70,000. The dual-server F820c provides up to 6TB and integrated fail-over at pricing that starts at $195,000.

NetApp also debuted Version 6.1 of its Data ONTAP software, which has native Windows 2000 support. The software also enables Fibre Channel storage area network (SAN) tape backup. Users can configure multiple filers with multiple tape libraries across a Fibre Channel switch with full fabric support. (Data ONTAP was previously limited to one tape library.) The software allows centralized control and coordinated backup of multiple filers via third-party backup applications.

Another new product targeting enterprise data centers and ISPs is NetApp's NetCache 3100 series, which lists for $40,000 and is scalable to 252GB with HTTP performance of greater than 90MBps. "We're pulling together worldwide edge deployment, remote replication, and data center deployment," says Mark Santora, NetApp's senior vice president of marketing.

Dell leverages W2K

Dell is targeting midrange NAS with its PowerVault 735N, which is based on a streamlined version of Windows 2000 Advanced Server. It supports Windows, Netware, Unix, Linux, and Macintosh platforms and is scalable to 1.44TB. The 735N ranges from $9,999 for a 144GB version to $41,000 for a 1.44TB configuration. Dell also premiered the 701N, a desk-side NAS system offering 60GB for $1,399 and increased the capacity of its 705N (introduced last September with 120GB) to 240GB at $4,300.

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Dell wanted to introduce a product line that could scale from the entry level to the low end of the enterprise level, while setting new price points, according to Dan Blizinski, product marketing manager for Dell's Storage Systems Group.

EMC recently announced its entry into midrange NAS with the Clariion IP4700 and enhancements to its high-end Celerra File Server line (see InfoStor, January 2001, p. 1). EMC has 29% of the NAS market, with NetApp holding 49%.

Other leaders in the NAS market include Quantum, Maxtor, and Cobalt/Sun in the entry-level space, and Compaq, Procom, and Hewlett-Packard in the midrange market. NetApp and EMC dominate the high-end enterprise segment. The NAS market is expected to skyrocket from $2.1 billion in 2000 to $15 billion in 2003, according to International Data Corp.

Separately, Compaq is making its move from midrange to enterprise NAS by offering clustering technology for its TaskSmart N-Series NAS appliances. First introduced last July, TaskSmart offered scalability up to 1TB and support for Windows and Unix. The new TaskSmart N-Series Cluster offers up to 10TB and is based on ProLiant servers, StorageWorks technologies, Windows 2000, and Microsoft Cluster Server (MSCS). Prices start at $175,000 for a 144GB configuration.


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