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Apple touts low-cost SAN software

Cheap, interoperable with Linux, Windows etc.

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Apple has extended its enterprise pitch with a play for the Storage Area Network (SAN) market. The Mac maker yesterday announced Xsan, software which adds a 64-bit cluster file system to Mac OS X.

Apple's code, currently available as a pre-release beta version, allows clients to connect to consolidated storage systems across a dedicated Fibre Channel network via an approved FC switch. Up to 64 users can concurrently share files and volumes up to 16TB in size.

Priced at £699 (including VAT) in the UK and $999 in the US, Xsan works out at less than half the price of rival products from Avid, SGI and IBM, Apple claimed and touted its system-level licence rather than a capacity-based one. Mention of Avid and SGI shows how Apple is particularly keen to tout the technology to video editing professionals.

But it's not a Mac-only thing: Xsan is interoperable with ADIC's StorNext File System, which essentially does the same job but for Windows, Unix and Linux. Xsan also taps in to ADIC's StorNext Management Suite administration console and its Scalar back-up systems.

However, Apple is keen that buyers use its Xserve servers and Xserve RAID rigs as metadata controllers and storage pools on the other side of the FC switch from the clients. It provides a PCI FC card. Apple has qualified FC switches from Brocade, QLogic and Emulex.

Xsan will ship in the Autumn, but Apple-equipped companies with "capable client and metadata controller computers, as well as the appropriate connectivity" may be permitted to try the beta release in the meantime. ®

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