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NetApp Gets SASy

NetApp became the latest vendor to woo the SMB crowd today, adding serial attached SCSI (SAS) technology and a set of new services to its FAS product line. (See NetApp Unveils Product Line, HP Thinks Small, and EMC Takes CDP Downmarket .)

The FAS2020 and FAS2050 are the vendor's first products to offer SAS, which is perceived as a lower-cost alternative to Fibre Channel-based drives. (See SNW: First Take, Emulex Locks Onto SAS, Trade Group Touts SAS Domination, EVault Gets SAS 70 Type II Cert, and Infortrend Intros New Arrays.) Tom Georgens, NetApp's executive vice president of product operations, describes the hardware as an "important technology hurdle" for NetApp, alluding to the growing popularity of SAS.

It has been clear for some time now that SAS is taking off. (See SAS Wave Breaks Big.) Both analyst firm Gartner and the SCSI Trade Association, for example, recently predicted that SAS will become the "dominant HDD interface" this year. (See Trade Group Touts SAS Domination.)

The 24.6-Tbyte FAS2020 contains up to 12 internal SAS drives, although an additional 28 Fibre Channel or SATA drives can also be connected externally to the system. The 69-Tbyte FAS2050 contains up to 20 internal SAS drives, although a further 84 external Fibre Channel and SATA drives can be hooked up.

NetApp is touting the two-rack-unit-high FAS2020 and the four-rack-unit-high FAS2050 as replacements for its existing low-end boxes, the 4.2-Tbyte FAS250 and the 16-Tbyte FAS270. (See NetApp Gets Simple SAN and NetApp Serves Up Petco.) "The 250 and the 270 will stay in the portfolio for a while -- we're not announcing end-of-life on these," says Georgens. "But we do expect customers to move to the 2020 and 2050."

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