Snap Puts Java in Box

New strategy looks to add value and growth.

In a bid not to fall victim to commodity pricing pressures, Snap Appliances next week will launch a developer release of Java Virtual Machine (JVM) for its top line of network-attached-storage servers.

The Java play is in its early stages, as the company looks to round up resellers to write feature-specific code for the Snap Server 4100. The company also is seeking developers to write full-blown applications for the storage appliance.

Snap will announce its Java push on Jan. 29, the same day it debuts the Snap Servers version 3.0 operating system, according to Jeff Hill, senior director of product marketing at Snap.

For starters, the company is looking to recruit at least 25 development partners. The partners will receive technical help, discounts and joint marketing opportunities. By late spring, the Snap Server 4100 will carry JVM.

In addition, the Snap 3.0 operating system includes file- and directory-level security, disk-space quotas, an FTP server and SNMP support.

The idea to open the box for development is crucial in the sub-$10,000 network-attached-storage market. Hill says Snap executives decided on the Java play last year, after solutions providers kept asking for ways they could add value.

"They said they wanted to add value, but our servers were closed and proprietary."

Hill concedes he does not yet know how the Java features in the Snap sever will play out. "We are hoping there is a lot of creativity out there," he says.

Otherwise, margins could suffer.