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End of the Line for Maxtor NAS Customers

Be on the lookout for further consolidation in the NAS market.

Maxtor says it's exiting the NAS (network-attached storage) market, citing unrealized revenue expectations and increased pressure from OEMs that don't want to compete with their suppliers.

The shutdown will give Maxtor greater opportunities to sell drives to NAS manufacturers that have been using Seagate and Hitachi (IBM) drives. It may also prompt IT managers to re-evaluate their equipment allocations. Maxtor may sell "assets" related to its NAS devices to another vendor. Maxtor uses Windows for Appliances as its OS along with generic hardware components, so any such sale will be inconsequential. Don't expect a white knight to swoop in and save its customers.

Indeed, for Maxtor NAS customers, it's the end of the line. Maxtor says it intends to honor existing warranties and service contracts, but replacement parts and further software development will go away. Fortunately, most of the Maxtor NAS devices are made of commonly available components and should be easy to repair with off-the-shelf replacements.

Maxtor NAS customers should make plans to remove these devices from critical service in the next six to 12 months, relegating them to secondary uses for the remainder of their lives.

Also, be on the lookout for further consolidation of the NAS market. Commoditization, price pressure and reduced IT spending will force many vendors to take a hard look at their NAS lines.
--Steven J. Schuchart Jr., sschuchart@nwc.com

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