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Sands Shift Under NAS Market

Over the past few years, EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) and Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP) have been the two superpowers battling for the title of high-end NAS heavyweight champion. Outside of this cold war, there wasn't much activity in the NAS business.

Now dropping into this scene are a number of players that are charging up the NAS market: Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) is aggressively pushing to dominate the low end of the market, and about a dozen scrappy startups are challenging the big guys at the top.

The latest Byte and Switch Insider report -- NAS Market Update -- examines major trends across this volatile segment of the storage industry. In addition to analyzing the strategies of the NAS technology leaders, the report examines the effects of recent market-altering trends.

One such development is the move toward NAS gateways and away from standalone systems. A large part of what seems to be a slowdown in NAS sales actually stems from a major shift in how its being sold: Instead of buying the whole NAS enchilada, more customers are opting for only the NAS server to front-end their current SAN storage, according to the Byte and Switch Insider report.

"Without back-end storage being sold as part of the whole NAS equation, the revenue numbers for the market are spiraling down -- a trend that's likely to continue," the report says.

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