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Network Appliance has stepped up to meet increasing pressure from EMC and Microsoft with the launch of some new kit and software.

NetApp has taken the wraps of the FAS200 series of low-end storage appliances. The company has crammed some high-end features into the new products but kept them sized for a workgroup or department by sticking to a 3U form factor. The plan is to give customers a little more bang for their buck than what Microsoft and its partners can offer with its new Windows Storage Server 2003 software.

The FAS250 arrives as a multiprotocol box with up to 1TB of storage capacity. The system supports iSCSI, CIFS, NFS and HTTP protocols.

Take a step up the product line, and you get the FAS270. This system can work either as a classic NAS (network attached storage) device or in a SAN (storage area network), as it supports IP protocols, iSCSI and Fibre Channel. It will store up to 4TB of data and has higher performance than the FAS250. It also has optional clustering available within the box.

Both systems use Broadcom's SB1250 MIPS processor, which has dual 650MHz cores and two on-board 10/100/1000 NICs (Gulp - Ed.).

The systems start at $10,000 and $20,000 respectively. They run on the same OS as NetApp's higher-end kit, so customers do have the option of jumping up to the FAS900 series of products by switching out the controller.

NetApp is also trying to increase its march into the SAN by adding to the list of operating systems supported with its FibreChannel kits. HP-UX, AIX and Linux will join Solaris and Windows as preferred OSes.

NetApp continues to hold a dominant share of the NAS marketing, trying EMC with 37 per cent of sales, according to IDC. Microsoft, which is backed by HP and EMC, has made a strong move on this market in a short period of time. Still, Microsoft tends to be relegated to the low-end while NetApp attracts the enterprise accounts. ®

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