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Hardware deal bolsters NetApp gear

NetApp's NearStore line--a collection of lower-end network attached storage products--snubs tape in favor of Maxtor hard drives to speed data transfer.

Storage-system maker Network Appliance announced a deal Monday to use Maxtor hardware in a new lower-end product.

NetApp's storage systems--"network-attached storage" (NAS) products, which connect to computers over ordinary networks--typically cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. The NearStore line, though--designed to speed data backup over a network--features models that aren't as costly.

Announced in December, the NearStore line unites some disk and other electronics from Maxtor's NAS 6000 with NetApp's custom operating system, Data Ontap, the companies said. The deal has the potential to last several years and to bring Maxtor millions in revenue, said Maxtor spokesman Mike Sanchez.

Backing up data from computers to tape is often a time-consuming process, largely because of the quantity of data involved and the sluggishness of tape drives when compared with hard drives. NearStore, which uses Maxtor hard drives, backs up and restores data faster.

NAS is a booming market as companies grapple with burgeoning requirements for storage space for e-mail, Web sites, and other networked file storage. Maxtor competes with major server companies such as Dell Computer and IBM as well as storage specialists such as Quantum.

NetApp was a pioneer in the high-end NAS market, but now faces competition from EMC, Sun Microsystems and others.