EMC debuts Windows-based NAS

Support for Windows Storage Server growing

By Lisa Coleman

This month, EMC began shipping its first network-attached storage (NAS) device based on Microsoft's Windows Storage Server 2003, which became available last month. Several other OEMs also recently released products based on Microsoft's new operating system.

Windows Storage Server 2003 has evolved from a server appliance kit enabling OEMs to build Windows-based NAS to a more full-featured storage operating system with services such as snapshots and fail-over clustering.

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Microsoft's integration of storage features has made the software more attractive to OEMs, say analysts.

Microsoft expects more than 30 OEMs to license the new software. In addition to EMC, vendors using Windows Storage Server 2003 include Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Inline, Iomega, and MaXXan. Software vendors supporting it include CommVault, Computer Associates, KVS, Legato, NSI Software, NuView, Quest Software, and Veritas (see table).

According to International Data Corp., Windows-based NAS now accounts for 41% of total NAS unit shipments.

EMC is using Windows Storage Server 2003 for the midrange NetWin 200, which is based on EMC's CLARiiON CX 200 disk array and Intel-based servers.

Chuck Hollis, EMC's vice president of platforms marketing, says, "Windows Storage Server NAS supports replication, snapshots, and copies. We've integrated that with our own replication capabilities on the array so it's a little more powerful." NetWin uses EMC's OnCourse replication software for automated file distribution.

"We think the sweet spot for NetWin will be companies that want to put consolidated, high-availability NAS out at the edge and tie it all together with common management and replication," says Hollis.

EMC also has integrated CLARiiON's management interface with NetWin so that it appears as part of the native Microsoft environment with no separate storage management menu, he adds.

The company will offer its SnapView local copying software as a "growth path" for the built-in Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) capability in Windows Storage Server 2003. SnapView allows users to offload copying and replication services from the server.

EMC's NetWin 200 NAS device is priced from $32,000 for a 500GB configuration. EMC will sell the product directly and not use its reseller partner Dell, which has its own competing NAS server.

OEMs line up

MaXXan Systems has built two new NAS gateways based on Windows Storage Server 2003 and MaXXan's SANe (Storage Application Network engine) architecture. The SG210m, priced at $19,250, is a NAS gateway card that can be integrated into MaXXan's MXV320 switch.

The SG110m, priced at $23,000, is a stand-alone NAS gateway that can be incorporated into an existing storage area network (SAN) infrastructure.

Dell will offer Windows Storage Server 2003 on its PowerVault 770N and 775N systems, which include Dell's OpenManage tools for monitoring performance and status of the devices. Prices start at $4,999.

Hewlett-Packard's 2U StorageWorks NAS 2000s is based on the new Microsoft software and uses HP's ProLiant server for scalability up to 24TB. The NAS 2000s is priced from $8,295. HP's StorageWorks XP, EVA, and VA arrays also support Windows Storage Server 2003.

Inline's Windows Storage Server 2003-based FileStorm NAS appliances scale from 80GB to 8TB.

Iomega began a transition to Windows Storage Server 2003 this quarter. The company's low-end NAS A205m is priced at less than $1,000 with 160GB, RAID 1, and bundled backup software.

This article was originally published on October 01, 2003