Network Appliance Targets Remote Access

Network Appliance Inc., the specialist in high-end network-attached storage, is rolling out two new products on Tuesday.

Network Appliance Inc., the specialist in high-end network-attached storage (NAS), is rolling out two new products on Tuesday.

The new products are DAFS Database Accelerator, built with the still nascent Direct Access File System from the DAFS Collaborative and the Storage Networking Industry Association, and Business Applications Accelerator. Both will be available later this month, said Dave Dale, industry evangelist, and Edward Sharp, director of business development at the Sunnyvale, Calif., company.

DAFS uses remote direct memory access (RDMA) and virtual interface (VI) to speed up file read/write functions. Network Appliance is initially specifying the technology for databases because thats the kind of application NAS systems are most criticized for not supporting well. But the catch is that users must upgrade their host-bus adapters; currently only Emulex Corp., of Costa Mesa, Calif., makes compatible products, Dale said.

The base cost for upgrading NetApps mid-range NAS box, F810 Filer, is about $7,000. The base for the high-end F880 is $17,500, Dale said. Also, DAFS Database Accelerator is currently for Solaris-based databases like Oracle Corp.s 8i and 9i, IBMs DB2 and Sybase Inc.s Adaptive Server 12.5. A Windows version—and therefore support for Microsoft Corp.s SQL Server—is "likely to be early next year," he said.

Meanwhile, Business Applications Accelerator is software that runs on NetApps NetCache device, Sharp said. Its initially for Oracle and Siebel Systems Inc. Web-based applications, and costs from $6,000 to $100,000, depending on capacity, he said.

BAA, in tests for about a year, has been especially helpful for computer mouse maker Logitech Inc. The company runs Oracles 11i enterprise resource planning (ERP) system with about 14 terabytes of data on NetApps older F760 and F840 devices, said Logitech CTO Pierre-Oliver Monnier, in Fremont, Calif.

"Logitech is located in about 15 countries, and we need those to get access," he said. "Im very happy with the way that it works. It definitely improved the performance for our users access to Oracle. The further away our users, the more theyve seen from this technology."

But NetApp still needs to refine the NetCache products management; more control is needed for which files enter the cache and when, Monnier said.

Network Appliance has about a third of the $1.9 billion market, according to International Data Corp., of Framingham, Mass.