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NAS Deals Fall Short

Network-attached storage (NAS) is increasingly becoming a team sport. Too bad all the recent maneuvering among storage titans leaves the same old holes in the technology.

At the heart of recent NAS news is the heavyweight matchup, with IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP) on one side, and EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL), and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) on the other (see Dell Adds a NAS, IBM, NetApp Ink OEM Pact, and Cisco & EMC Close NAS Deal).

The message is simple: NetApp and EMC dominate the NAS market, and other large players had best work with one of them rather than compete on their own.

But what's it all mean for users? Not much, except they can buy NAS systems in more places. And just because customers can get EMCs NAS systems from Cisco or Dell, or buy NetApp gear from IBM, doesn’t fix any NAS usability problems.

Instead, the major players have left the real problems of enterprise NAS to a whole submarket that includes startups like Acopia Networks Inc., NeoPath Networks, NuView Inc., ONStor Inc., and Rainfinity. These and other small players offer crucial NAS elements unavailable from the big boys.

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