Microsoft Specializes Next-Generation NAS Devices

The upcoming third generation of Microsoft's network attached storage devices will have different versions for low-end, midrange, and high-end uses.

The upcoming third generation of Microsoft Corp.s network attached storage devices will have different versions for low-end, midrange, and high-end uses, officials said today.

The versions will be segregated by model number only, representatives of the Redmond, Wash., company confirmed. No other details were available.

"Its turned on based on your license key, what feature set you get. Theyll definitely be available" all at once, said Steve Kenniston, analyst with Enterprise Storage Group Inc., who was briefed on the technology.

Server Appliance Kit 2003 will ship this fall, officials said. The originally stated June timeframe will now be for shipping to resale partners only, they said.

Besides the new versions, SAK 2003 – also known as SAK 3.0 – includes better scaling in the Distributed File System protocol, through the use of multiple roots, which also makes DFS 150 percent faster, Director of Product Management Zane Adam previously said. The alternative Network File System will be 50 percent faster, he said.

In addition, SAK 3.0 will have less downtime because it will fail over to the closest replica instead of to a random one, and its price will likely stay the same, Adam stated last fall.

Resellers of the current SAK 2.1 device have varying levels of differentiation. For high-end users, EMC Corp. works with partner Dell Computer Corp., on a product called NetWin, attached to the Hopkinton, Mass., firms Clariion storage series.

Hewlett-Packard Co. offers a wide range of SAK devices, and will announce a new low-end version, the NAS 1000s, next week at Microsofts TechEd 2003 conference, officials in Palo Alto, Calif., said today.

NAS 1000s costs $2,999 for 320GB, $4,999 for 640GB, and $6,999 for 1TB, officials said. Its features are otherwise "exactly the same" as HPs other Windows-based NAS products, said Roger Archibald, vice president and general manager for infrastructure and NAS division.

NAS 1000s will be available immediately, and HP will offer both SAK 2.1 and 3.0 versions as of this fall, for an undetermined period of time, Archibald added.

But HP continues to offer Linux versions as well. Like the NAS products in HPs series, NAS 1000s will have a Linux version by early 2004, he said. HP will seek either third-party support or open-source code on which to build replication software for its Linux versions, as a parallel to the existing Windows replication support it ships from Indianapolis-based Network Specialists Inc., he said.

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