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Dell, Microsoft Team on NAS-Plus-iSCSI

LAS VEGAS -- Storage Decisions -- Dell is adding iSCSI support to its Windows-based NAS platform, with the help of a new storage server from Microsoft.

The Dell PowerVault NX1950 handles file- and block-based storage in the same system -- a first for Dell, although others already offer this. Network Appliance makes NAS, iSCSI, and Fibre Channel connectivity available on all of its storage systems, and earlier this year NetApp came out with an iSCSI-NAS system for SMBs. Hewlett-Packard's new All-in-One SMB system also lets customers handle blocks as well as files. (See HP Fills In SMB Storage.)

But Dell is the first to build a storage system around Microsoft's Windows Unified Data Storage Server 2003, a beefed-up version of the MS Storage Server 2003 that was released earlier this year. (See Microsoft Opens iSCSI Window.)

Unified Data Storage Server combines the NAS server Microsoft has had for years with the iSCSI target capability it acquired from StringBean Software in March and some of the clustering capabilities from the Windows Computer Cluster Server it added in June. (See Microsoft Targets iSCSI, Microsoft Munches String Bean, and Microsoft Pitches Linux Cluster Buster.)

NetApp uses its own operating system for its block and file systems, while HP's is based on Microsoft's Storage Server 2003 and iSCSI target.

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