NetApp unpacks entry-level storage boxes

Storage device maker Network Appliance debuts lower-cost systems hardware aimed at smaller companies and at enterprise customers that use distributed computing.

Matt Hines Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Matt Hines
covers business software, with a particular focus on enterprise applications.
Matt Hines
2 min read
Network Appliance debuted entry-level storage systems hardware on Monday, part of a push to appeal to smaller companies and to cater to the distributed-computing demands of enterprise customers.

The storage device maker said the new so-called fabric-attached storage (FAS) products--the FAS250, the FAS270 and the FAS270c for clusters--are aimed at small and midsized customers and at large companies that distribute tasks among a network of machines. Fabric-attached storage systems are devices connected via a network and not directly attached to a computer, according to Network Appliance.

According to Suresh Vasudevan, senior director of software at NetApp, the new FAS systems offer much of the functionality of the company's high-end devices at a lower price.

"This technology will allow companies to address distributed storage environments without being forced to spend as much as they do for their high-end enterprise systems," Vasudevan said. "Offering entry-level technology with the same operating system and many of the same components as our...FAS900 products is an important part of our unified storage approach."

The FAS250 will sell for $10,000 and up, with the FAS270 starting at $20,000 and the FAS270c going for $40,000 or more, he said. NetApp's higher-end storage systems begin at $150,000 and can cost more than $1 million, depending on configuration.

According to Vasudevan, even the lowest-end FAS250 systems will provide up to 1 terabyte of storage. (A terabyte is approximately one trillion bytes.) He said new filer technology in the machines is designed to allow customers to expand capacity without requiring them to copy stored data.

NetApp said it will begin marketing the systems immediately. The FAS250 is already shipping, and the FAS270 systems are expected to be delivered sometime before the end of this year, according to Vasudevan.

The FAS products were unveiled at this week's NFS Industry Conference, held in Santa Clara, Calif. Among the other announcements at the trade show:

• NetApp has expanded operating systems support in its storage area network (SAN) products, adding HP-UX, IBM AIX and Linux to the list of systems its Fibre Channel SAN technologies recognizes.

• The company introduced a storage package for businesses that face increased government regulation under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Dubbed SnapLock Compliance, the combined hardware and software package helps financial services companies meet recently imposed U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission regulations, NetApp said. It can also be tailored for businesses in the health care and life sciences industries.

•  A similar package was released for companies that aren't facing direct government regulation yet want to build long-term data-retention capabilities.

• NetApp has formed a string of new partnerships with companies that make data storage applications to help with regulatory compliance. New partners include CYA Technologies, Documentum, IXOS and Legato.