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EMC to roll out Windows-based storage system

Jumps in the SAK with Microsoft

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EMC Corp. has given in and decided to start shipping Windows-based network attached storage (NAS) systems alongside its own Celerra hardware.

The NetWin 200 system will start shipping in the third quarter, starting at $50,000. Even with this price-tag, the box fits into the low end of EMC's NAS line. The higher end Celerra systems serve as NAS gateways to EMC's Clariion and Symmetrix products and start close to $167,000.

By contrast, the NetWin 200 puts a server with Windows SAK(server appliance kit) in front of one of EMC's Clariion CX systems. The NetWin 200 product can be managed from Windows or EMC's ControlCenter software.

It's only taken Microsoft a few years to pry its way into the NAS market. Market leader Network Appliance continues to go the non-Windows route, but the biggest hardware vendors have sided with Redmond. EMC joins HP, Dell, IBM and Iomega as Windows SAK vendors.

Outside of hardware, Microsoft and EMC have worked together for some time on software engineering efforts. The companies are rumored to have interesting projects underway involving tie ins between EMC's software and Microsoft's upcoming Windows Future Storage (WinFS) file system that will sit at the heart of future versions of Windows and SQL Server.

The vendors solidified their commitment publicly on Monday, as EMC also announced it will integrate Microsoft's storage APIs into its own platforms. This will give Windows users the ability to have more sophisticated management controls of EMC hardware, and will give EMC ControlCenter users deeper access into the Windows-powered kit.

EMC has also signed an agreement under Microsoft's Communication Protocol Licensing Program (MCPP) to ensure protocol interoperability between EMC's NAS systems and Windows-based PCs, the vendors said.

The deal shows that EMC needs help stretching down to the low end of the storage market, and, in particular, could use a boost for its flagging NAS business, which showed a double-digit drop in revenue year-on-year. ®

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