Network Appliance unveils NAS device

Network Appliance today announced the first of an enterprise-class filer line for centralized, online backup for data from multiple remote site locations.

The NearStore R100 file server is the first of a line of NearStore family of products announced in December. The R100 scales from 12TB to 96TB and works with almost a dozen vendor backup software products.

Jamie Gruener, an analyst at the Yankee Group in Boston, said Network Appliance is hitting a sweet spot with storage managers with the release of its first product focused squarely on data migration and backup.

"What they're doing is offering a consolidated backup appliance," he said. "The idea behind it is to ease people's backup issues as far as how to do backups and where does that data reside. It has fairly unique positioning."

Gruener also said the R100's base price of US$240,000, which works out to two cents per megabyte, is very competitive.

NearStore products will work with other vendors' storage servers and with variations of the Unix operating system and Windows NT.

In concert with the NearStore R100's release, Network Appliance introduced several backup and restore software products including SnapMirror, which allows managers to mirror selected mission-critical data sets stored within a single volume for disaster recovery; SnapVault, which enables snapshots from multiple storage appliances to be placed on a central repository, such as the NearStore; and SnapRestore for file recovery from previously created copies.

"Today backup is normally done via a bunch of smallish tape libraries. That's hard to administer because in regional offices there's little or no IT support. With NearStore 100, all data can be backed up in seconds to minutes vs. hours to days," said Ray Villeneuve, vice president of marketing at Network Appliance in Sunnyvale, Calif.

The NearStore product line will work with backup software from Advanced Digital Information Corp., Computer Associates International Inc., Legato Systems Inc., Quantum/ATL, Spectra Logic Corp., Storage Technology Corp. and Veritas Software.

"NearStore is well suited for storing redundant copies of data because of its large capacity, network connectivity and interoperability with popular backup and replication software packages," said Michael Fisch, an analyst at The Clipper Group in Wellesley, Mass.

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