Got NAS?

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Backing up data a pain? Get NAS.

That's the message that San Jose, Calif.-based Connex, Inc., is trying to get to the masses�that Network Attached Storage is the way to ease the data storage burden.

Expanding on the message, Connex has debuted its newest NAS appliance, the N3100 file server. The new device is targeted as a file server and storage compliment to existing Windows, Unix or heterogeneous networks.

But why NAS?

"NAS is hot," said Dan Tanner, senior analyst, Storage and Storage Management, Aberdeen Group. "It's so easy to understand compared to storage area networks (SANs)." Tanner pointed to the recent ability to backup off of the local area network (LAN), avoiding performance drains on the servers.

According to Tanner, Connex has added a number of touches that add a feel that would be most appealing to users in the workgroup space like scalability, the option of adding tape autoloaders and libraries through a SCSI connection, and the fact that the device locks, for increased security. "Connex is a strong competitor in the departmental and workgroup space. They've got the features that one would want."

Working with partners to fill the needs of niche markets in the storage industry is high on Connex priority list, according to Doug Stringer, senior product marketing manager for Connex Systems Group. "What we've found is that people are opting for storing data on NT and UNIX servers not realizing the benefits of using NAS." Stringer hopes that education on NAS will bolster the mass adoption of the technology. The new features that the N3100 provide are aimed at an easier end-user interface and simplified use. "What we've included is an upgrade to the operating system, from OS 1.7 to OS 1.8. It features a much-improved menu and administrative capabilities. It now supports Netscape and Internet Explorer 5.5. We've also added NDMP support."

The Connex N3100 offers simultaneous support for both NFS and CIFS, allowing users and devices quicker access to shared files while decreasing the demands to the Unix or Windows application servers.

With a 33% capacity improvement over its first generation NAS server, the N3100 has 288G Bytes and RAID-5 capability, the Connex N3100 NAS server is designed for mid-range departmental and high-end workgroup storage applications. With a design architecture optimized for modularity and high availability, the Connex N3100 allows network administrators and IT managers to add SCSI-attached storage to typical NT and UNIX servers.

The N3100 is offers an integrated tape backup solution with an internal AIT-2 drive that can backup 100G Bytes per cartridge. An external SCSI port is included, allowing the connection of third-party automated tape libraries and loaders. Simplified backup is facilitated via embedded support for the Network Data Management Protocol (NDMP), allowing LAN-free backup operations. NDMP support enables N3100 servers to be utilized as part of a LAN-free backup strategy using third-party NDMP software applications. LAN-free backup removes backup traffic from the network, eliminating the impact on regular network traffic and improving backup performance and reliability.

The Connex N3100 is now shipping with prices starting at $ 13,500 and as low as $0.08/M Byte in a fully configured package.

Let us know what you think about the story, e-mail Kevin Komiega, assistant news editor

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