The network-attached storage (NAS) marketplace, led by Network Appliance and EMC, has convinced hard disk NAS sellers that there is much green to be gathered in the Internet service industry.
Relatively inexpensive rack-mountable low-end NAS servers from Quantum and Maxtor have been successful with smaller ISPs. VA Linux likely will be hard-pressed to compete in that low-end market, as Quantum and Maxtor are selling 240GB in a 1U-high box for less than $5,000. The low cost per gigabyte is derived from these two sellers' less-expensive integrated development environment drives, as compared to the small computer system interface drives used by VA Linux.
However, VA Linux's scalability, good hardware redundancy and density should provide it with a market opportunity in the midrange ASP market. At the high end, leaders Network Appliance and EMC should enjoy their success, not only because of their higher scalability, but mainly because of their more intelligent storage management layer, such as SnapShot and TimeFinder.
For the regional ASPs that are experiencing explosive storage growth and companies that run storage-hungry applications, VA Linux's NAS products are a much less costly alternative. VA Linux, on the other hand, should enhance its storage management software features.
(For related commentary on questions to ask before adding a NAS device, see TechRepublic.com.--free registration required.)
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