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Low-End NAS is a Backup Mainstay

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Everyone knows that storage area networks (SANs) are for block-based database storage, and network-attached storage (NAS) is for files. And now, increasingly, NAS is for backup, too.

At least that's what two leaders in the low-end of the market are finding. According to a March 2003 customer survey by Snap Appliance, San Jose, CA, which makes entry-level and midrange NAS products, 35% of its customers responded that they were using their NAS devices as backup targets. In another customer survey, Snap competitor, Iomega, based in San Diego, CA, found that 31% of its customers were doing the same thing.

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That came as somewhat of a surprise to Joe Disher, Snap Appliance director of technical marketing. "Remember, this was before disk-to-disk really became a buzzword. At the time, I'd have guessed that maybe 15% were using NAS for backup."

Not that anyone is complaining. "We wish that number were higher," says Snap's Disher.

Snap and Iomega's numbers are higher than the NAS market as a whole, says Pushan Rinnen, principle analyst for Gartner Inc., whose data indicates that about 25% of NAS devices are used for backup.

No doubt contributing to NAS success as a backup target is the software which comes bundled with these devices. Snap NAS devices, for example, come with PowerQuest's DataKeeper desktop client backup software, Snap's own server-to-server synchronization tool and an integrated version of SyncSort's Backup Express for its midrange line.

Iomega, meanwhile, hopes to inspire even more people to use its NAS boxes as backup targets, with the introduction this summer of three NAS/tape bundles. The first consists of a 320GB NAS device with an eight-cartridge VS80 autoloader, plus Yosemite Software's backup software for $6,999; the second comes with a 640GB NAS device, an eight-cartridge LTO-1 autoloader, plus Computer Associates' ARCserve backup software for $12,999; and last, a 1.3TB NAS device, 16-cartridge LTO-2 autoloader and ARCserve for $23,999. The last bundle represents a $3,700 savings over buying the components separately, says Wayne Arvidson, Iomega director of marketing.

This was first published in October 2003

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