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EMC Joins Rush to Windows NAS

A flurry of Windows-based NAS announcements has industry sources asking whether big vendors should pull the blinds.

While still a tiny slice of the NAS market, Windows-based NAS has been featured in a slew of recent news: EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) today unveiled the entry-level NetWin 110 system based on Windows Storage Server 2003 (see EMC Launches NAS for SMBs); Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) recently announced a new Windows-based PowerVault system; and sources say Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) will upgrade its Windows-based NAS line next week at Microsofts TechEd conference (see Dell Covers Its NAS).

Microsoft’s Windows Storage Server 2003 product manager, Marcus Schmidt, says other hardware and software vendors will roll out products around Windows-based NAS next week, as well.

Driving all this is Microsoft's addition of NAS support for Exchange Server 2003 email server and other enhancements last month as part of a Service Pack. Also, low-end NAS systems target the trendy SMB market that storage vendors are chasing (see Microsoft Likes Fibre Channel, Too).

But sources say the rush to open Windows on NAS is misguided. IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)
dropped its unsuccessful Windows-based NAS earlier this year, and Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP) has no plans to offer NAS built on Windows (see IBM Swings New NAS Gateway). Both offer higher-end NAS products.

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