Network Appliance redoubled its efforts in the midrange market this week with the announcement of a pair of new “unified storage” appliances, an expansion of its partnership with IBM, and new services.

The new disk arrays fall into NetApp’s FAS2000 product line, and include the FAS2020 and FAS2050. NetApp is pitching the FAS2000 series as a platform for customers migrating from DAS to networked storage. The appliances run NetApp’s Data ONTAP operating software.

Tom Georgens, NetApp’s executive vice president of product operations, says that midrange companies have been underserved by storage vendors. “Mid-range applications are very similar to high-end applications, and the advent of new technologies like VMware are driving storage out of servers and into the network, which allows us to leverage our multi-protocol, unified storage systems for consolidation,” says Georgens. “These trends are motivating users to separate the server buy from the storage buy.”

The FAS2000 arrays combined with Data ONTAP provide snapshot technology, RAID-DP (RAID 6) data protection, A-SIS data de-duplication technology, FlexClone cloning software, and FlexVol thin provisioning software. The systems also support management software such as SnapManager for Exchange, Oracle, SAP, SharePoint, and SQL Server.

The FAS2020 has a maximum capacity of 24TB using external 750GB SATA drives. The FAS2050 can scale up to 69TB with 750GB SATA drives. Both appliances support CIFS and NFS, IP SANs, Fibre Channel SANs, and Fibre Channel tape environments.

The FAS2020 and FAS2050 are replacements for the FAS250 and FA270, respectively. The new disk arrays also mark the first time NetApp has incorporated SAS technology into its product line.

Users can mix SAS, SATA and Fibre Channel drives in the same system, but NetApp does not recommend mixing drive types within RAID volumes or failover loops within HA environments.

The starting price for a base configuration of a FAS2020 system is $12,100, while the FAS2050 starts at just under $25,000. Pricing includes the Data ONTAP, RAID-DP, Snapshot, FlexVol, iSCSI protocol software, and 1.75TB of raw storage.

NetApp also expanded its reseller relationship with IBM to include the new products. Big Blue is now reselling NetApp FAS2000 systems as the re-branded IBM N3000 systems.

NetApp Global Services (NGS) is also getting in on the mid-market push. NGS and the NetApp Service Partner Network are offering two new services. The first is a Rapid Deployment Service to help customers set up and configure new systems. NGS uses this service to confirm that snapshot capabilities are fully integrated with applications, such as MS Exchange, SQL Server and Oracle databases. The second is a Storage Availability Audit service, which is designed to optimize storage utilization once the FAS appliances are up and running.

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