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NetApp's Backup Plan

NAS vendor breaks into 'near-line' storage that's cheaper than NAS

Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP), in search of new sources of revenue, is prepping a new family of products. Dubbed NearStore, the systems represent NetApps first foray into the backup and recovery market.

NetApp says NearStore systems, which will be loaded with a baseline of 12 terabytes and range up to 100 terabytes of storage capacity, are aimed at filling a gap between NetApp’s traditional network attached storage (NAS) and offline tape backup.

NetApp is presently the market leader in NAS, which provides high-end storage in server form that attaches directly to a network that needs backup (see Storage Networking Glossary). Despite the vigor of the sector, companies have been experiencing the pinch of the recent economic downturn, and they're looking to squeeze new opportunities wherever they can find them (see NAS Goes Mainstream).

NetApp says companies have been seeking products that offer faster access to data than is offered by tape storage gear (hence the name "NearStore"), while falling below the cost of full-blown NAS appliances.

“I really think this is a new market for us. It gives people a new option for what they do with less frequently accessed data,” says Mark Santora, senior VP of marketing at NetApp. "I believe this will lead to more people using IP networks for backup globally."

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