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Much Ado About NAS

Built on top of the CX600, the NS600 is targeted squarely at the midrange, and is priced accordingly...

Hoping to bolster your file serving capabilities? Archrivals EMC and Hitachi Data Systems both have new NAS offerings they'd like to sell you.

On top of its high-end NAS gateway - Celerra for either Symmetrix or the Clariion CX600 - EMC now also has a file-only NAS product, the Celerra NS600. Built on top of the CX600, the NS600 is targeted squarely at the midrange, and is priced accordingly - about 40% of the list price for a comparable filer from Network Appliance, EMC claims.

The NS600 is cheaper than NetApp filers because it comes with high-availability features built in, says Chuck Hollis, vice president, storage platforms marketing. "With most NAS devices, you get high availability by clustering two together," he says. The NS600, on the other hand, comes by default with two "data movers," or storage processors, which you can choose to run in either high availability mode, with one data mover on standby, or in "performance mode," with both data movers active. Either way, a 1TB NS600 lists for $167,000.

As a backdrop for the NS600 announcement, IDC revealed that EMC ceded its No. 1 position in NAS revenues to NetApp last quarter. "To give the devil his due, the midrange is hot," concedes Hollis, and "EMC did not have a strong midtier offering."

HDS, meanwhile, is set to sell a NAS gateway for its Freedom Storage 9900 and 9500 arrays based on technology OEM'ed from NetApp. Implementation details are still murky, but we do know that management will be provided by Hitachi's HiCommand software. Whether NetApp or HDS will provide higher level functionality such as snapshot and mirroring is unclear. "My guess is that mirroring capabilities will be provided through the array," said NetApp CEO Dan Warmenhoven in a conference call, although he added, "HDS can sell our mirroring software if they so choose."

HDS already resells NAS gateways from Auspex and Network Storage Solutions (NSS), but HDS President and COO Dave Roberson concedes that "we've never successfully brought a NAS product to market to date." For the time being, the deal does not extend to HDS arrays resold by Sun or Hewlett-Packard.

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