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NetApp Debuts Multiprocessor NAS Devices

Move should make it more competitive versus EMC. Meanwhile, BlueArc waits in the wings

Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP) is marching forward with its first multiprocessor storage appliances in an effort to either hold or regain (depending on who you ask) its lead in the network-attached storage (NAS) market. The appliances introduced this week, dubbed F880 and F880c, are designed to handle large databases.

The move toward high-end storage filers broadens the companys market opportunities. Its earlier appliances, such as the predecessor F840 product, are more commonly used for lighter jobs like storing email. The new products should make NetApp more competitive with companies like EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) in winning big-spending enterprise customers.

The F880 can handle up to 9 terabytes of data and the F880c clusters two of the appliances together for 18 terabytes. The increased horsepower of dual Pentium III microprocessors in each device delivers better performance than the earlier products. The company also uses a single operating system so that networks can easily be upgraded with the new storage filers.

A company spokesman said the throughput of the F880 is “50 percent higher” than the F840 but he declined to offer specifics. He also said prices “start at $135,000” but declined to offer pricing on a product with all the bells and whistles.

EMC isn’t standing still. “EMC’s access to the enterprise has been hurting Network Appliance,” says Arun Taneja, an analyst with The Enterprise Storage Group Inc.. “EMC has been publicly stating it will pass NetApp this year in total NAS sales.”

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