VA hired Andrew Tridgell, one of the lead programmers creating the Samba software that lets a Linux computer share files on a Windows network. The software is a key part of products from VA and numerous other companies trying to grab a share of the money spent on special-purpose storage devices such as NAS (network-attached storage) machines.
Tridgell and Allison are members of VA's NAS team, the company said. NAS products are special-purpose servers that add new data storage capacity to an ordinary network. The leader in the market is Network Appliance.
VA's new NAS system, the 9450, is a 7-inch thick module that has as many as four Pentium III Xeon CPUs. Connecting other storage enclosures can expand the system to a 45.5-inch thick module with 6.6 terabytes of capacity.
A basic 180GB system costs about $30,000, but most customers are gravitating toward systems with 1.5 to 2 terabytes, said Cheryl Sindelar, marketing manager for the product. A popular 1.9-terabyte configuration costs $116,000, she said.
VA also lowered the price on the earlier-generation 9205 NAS system, Sindelar said.