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Apple Bites Into Storage

Apple Computer Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and networked storage are rarely mentioned in the same breath without drawing a puzzled look. The folks at Apple hope to change that with a new SAN file system geared mostly toward digital video applications and low-cost storage.

Apple today started shipping its Xsan file system, which it announced as a beta product last February (see Apple Ships SAN File System). Storage product manager Eric Zelenka hopes the file system gives it a more compelling storage story for its XServe RAID storage systems.

I still run into people who say, ‘Apple? Storage?’ ” Zelenka says. “This should bring us a whole new set of customers.”

Apple first got into storage with its XServe RAID arrays in February 2003 (see Apple Slices RAID). Apple claims a fair share of customers in the high-performance computing and life-sciences verticals through partnership with InfiniBand vendors, but its storage is used mostly by existing Mac customers looking to network their direct attached storage. (See InfiniCon Delivers InfiniBand for Apple and Voltaire Touts Largest InfiniBand Switch.)

Xsan makes it easier to share and manage storage on XServe RAID arrays. The 64-bit cluster file system lets up to 64 users simultaneously access a storage volume, which comes in handy for post-production video work. It also supports striping across multiple arrays.

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