Network Appliance boosts network storage offering

Network Appliance this week will announce an entry-level network-attached storage appliance, expanded operating system support and enhancements to its compliance and data retention software - all features that let customers create more scalable and manageable storage environments.

The FAS250 and FAS270 are two file servers available in a 3U-high rack-mountable enclosure. The FAS250, which has a maximum capacity of 1 terabyte, is designed for NAS or iSCSI environments, where SCSI and Fibre Channel storage is connected directly to the Ethernet network.

The FAS270, which has a maximum capacity of four terabytes and is available in a clustered configuration called the FAS270c, is designed for NAS, iSCSI or storage-area network environments, where the NAS file server lets Fibre Channel SAN devices connect to the Gigabit Ethernet environment. Both devices are designed for space-constrained workgroup environments. The FAS250 and FAS270 use Broadcom's SB1250 MIPS processor operating at 650MHz. They are connected to the Ethernet network via dual network adapters.

Remote office products

"These products are great remote-office file servers," says Jamie Gruener, senior analyst with The Yankee Group. "The core part of Network Appliance's strategy is that when you deploy a Network Appliance system, everything talks to everything else in the environment. By having these remote-office products, Network Appliance can allow users to communicate and backup to an appliance in a corporate data center."

Network Appliance also announced that its file servers now support host computers running HP-UX, Linux and AIX operating systems. Present Network Appliance file servers attach to networks where the host computers run Windows and Solaris.

Compliance software

The company also enhanced its SnapLock software. It now makes available a SnapLock Compliance edition for companies that are regulated by federal and local government regulations including the Heath Information Portability and Accountability Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Securities Exchange Commission Rule 17a-4. These regulations require that data be retained for specified periods of time and be quickly accessible.

SnapLock Compliance works with Network Appliance FAS servers and its Advanced Technology Attachment-based NearStore appliances. The software now supports record-level retention data, in which individual records can be retained for specified dates and deleted when the retention period expires.

The company also rolled out a new version of its retention software called SnapLock Enterprise. This software works with data that remains unchanged for long periods of time, such as automobile collision reports, and is not required to meet government guidelines nor be stored in a non-erasable, non-rewritable fashion.

Network Appliance competes most closely with EMC Corp.'s Celerra and vendors such as Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. that use Windows Storage Server 2003.

The FAS250 and FAS270 start at US$10,000.

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