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Startup ANStor64 launched its first product today, a 64-bit operating system which aims to convert standard storage servers into a combined iSCSI and NAS appliance, allowing users to mix and match their storage hardware. (See Cutting Edge Unveils ANStor64.)

The software, demo'd at last week's Storage World Conference (SWC), plugs into the IDE port on the server's motherboard and can be managed via a graphical user interface. (See Vendors Plan a Week to Watch.)

"You can use part of the box as an iSCSI target with low-cost Serial ATA drives, and you could use the other part of the box as a NAS appliance," explains Gary Goodman, ANStor64's vice president and general manager. As a NAS appliance, the device could be used to support high-performance Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) or Fibre Channel drives.

The fact that the software is hardware-agnostic could open the door to plenty of OEM opportunities, according to Greg Schulz, an analyst at StorageIO. "It's an interesting approach [because] you get your pick," he says. "It's a great solution for resellers and OEMs that need to take that functionality and integrate it either as a combined offering or as a NAS head."

Typically, Goodman expects a combination of SAS and SATA drives to be the most widely used configuration. "It's going to make more sense to use it as SAS and SATA together because the connectors are the same."

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