Network Appliance unveils new NAS boxes, capability

FRAMINGHAM (12/02/2003) - In an attempt to become every customer's No. 1 storage vendor, Network Appliance Inc. Tuesday announced a variety of new products and partnerships that enhance their capabilities.

The company announced new file servers, new capabilities for its storage-area network/network attached storage (SAN/NAS) gateway, a new version of its NearStore storage appliance and an enhanced version of its SnapVault software. In addition, the announced that they will work with Cisco Systems Inc., FileNetg and Veritas Software Corp. to integrate those companies products into their platform.

"This whole announcement is continuing NetApp's momemtum," says Jamie Gruener, senior analyst with the Yankee Group. "What they've done is extended the reach of their high-end systems from a performance, as well as capacity, standpoint."

The new filers are the NetApp FAS980 and a clustered version of the FAS980 called the FAS980C. Both filers have file and block capabilities and are intended for use by customers with business-critical and data-intensive applications such as CRM and ERP. The capacity of the FAS980 is 32 terabytes for single system configurations and 64 terabytes for clustered configuration. They are 45 percent faster than NetApp FAS960 and FAS960c versions, according to Network Appliance's claims.

The company also announced that its SAN/NAS gateway, the NetApp gFiler can now be attached to IBM Corp. Enterprise Storage System (ESS, codenamed Shark) platforms to give customers file-oriented access to block-level SAN data. The gFiler has iSCSI as well as Fibre Channel SAN attachments. Previously, the gFiler worked only with Hitachi Ltd.'s high-end Freedom storage gear. The company also introduced software called SnapMover, which works with the gFiler to be able to distribute data between gFiler systems, without physical copying.

"The gateway product is an excellent opportunity for customers who are trying to integrate larger unified storage environments," Gruener says. "By extending the gateway to IBM, it gives them a great deal more flexibility with customers with Sharks."

Further, NetApp announced the NetApp NearStore R200 storage system and an enhanced version of its SnapVault software. The R200 scales from eight T-bytes to 96 T-bytes. The company also announced the integration of RAID-DP into its storage systems. RAID-DP, or RAID double-parity. offers customers data protection in the event of multiple storage-related disk failures. The NearStore R200 is smaller than the NearStore R100, which NetApp introduced two years ago. It offers a low-end eight T-byte version with Serial ATA or Fibre Channel drives.

NetApp also announced expanded partnerships with Cisco, FileNet and Veritas to integrate their products.