Dell offers NAS-to-SAN scalability

Dell Computer Corp. on Monday will officially announce that the company can now extend its NAS (network attached storage) products outward into SAN (storage area network) configurations.

With the addition of Fibre Channel HBAs (host bus adapters) Dell's PowerVault NAS line can now scale outward into a SAN, said Matt Brisse, a product manager for the Dell/EMC product line, in Round Rock, Texas.

The capability to scale storage capacity outward from Dell PowerVault NAS devices to SAN systems will give Dell customers the option of first deploying their network storage on a less expensive NAS before making the jump to a pricier SAN, Brisse said.

"We can offer our NAS boxes [at] around the $8,000 range, then what we do is drop host bus adapters into it and attach it to Fibre Channel storage either in a direct attached mode or in a SAN," Brisse said.

Currently, Dell rebrands and resells SAN storage arrays from Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC Corp.

Dell's PowerVault 750N and 755N NAS products offer the new SAN option, each with either 1GB or 2GB Fibre Channel paths to Dell/EMC SAN products such as the FC 4700, FC4500, and FC5300, according to Brisse. Users with existing NAS systems can get an upgrade/add-on from Dell. No pricing information was given.

"This announcement enables us to put our NAS boxes into a SAN fabric leveraging all the Dell and EMC storage arrays," Brisse said. "In the past, when you ran out of storage you had to buy another NAS. Here when you run out of storage, you just add another array seamlessly."

Service for the Dell/EMC storage arrays will be provided solely from Dell.

Dell's new NAS-to-SAN capability better equips the company to compete with existing NAS and SAN storage integrators such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM Corp., to name a few. EMC also now has the same NAS-to-SAN capability, Brisse said.

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