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Hitachi Gives NetApp Hot Wheels

PHOENIX -- Storage Networking World Spring 2003 -- Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) has taken a bit longer than it expected to fasten Network Appliance Inc.'s (Nasdaq: NTAP) NAS facemask to its back-end SAN storage.

But now, HDS says it has a higher-performance NAS solution than NetApp is able to offer itself.

HDS, which is having to play some serious catchup to EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) in the NAS space, today is announcing the availability of HDS NetApp Enterprise NAS Gateways, special-purpose NAS servers that can attach directly or via a Fibre Channel SAN fabric to HDS's high-end Lightning or midrange Thunder storage arrays.

Originally, when HDS and NetApp announced their partnership in December 2002, they expected to deliver their first jointly developed product in the first quarter (see HDS OEMs NetApp: Big Deal? and HDS Ships NetApp NAS Gateway).

Kevin Sampson, director of product marketing for NAS at HDS, says there was considerable testing and training that the companies had to conduct to get the products to market. Specifically, NetApp modified its Write Anywhere File Layout (WAFL) file system to enable the use of Hitachi's own underlying RAID controllers, he says.

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