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Gateway Chews Storage Cud

Gateway Inc., the home PC maker whose recent TV ads have featured a talking Holstein cow, next week will initiate a bovinely inspired attack on the enterprise storage market by introducing a 12-drive SCSI array for its servers.

Come again? Yes, that's right: Gateway is jumping hooves-first into the direct-attached storage (DAS) space -- even as the rest of the industry has been moving away from DAS in favor of networked storage systems that offer better utilization and greater flexibility.

Tim Diefenthaler, Gateway's director of enteprise servers and storage, concedes that the company is taking very tentative baby steps with its first foray into storage. But first things first, he says: "We clearly want to broaden our storage portfolio over time, but we need to take the right steps from an infrastructure perspective. SAN and NAS, as well as backup schemes, are on our roadmap throughout the rest of the year."

In 2001, Gateway actually did launch a family of NAS systems, developed by Maxtor Corp. (NYSE: MXO), but after poor sales Gateway phased out the line the same year. Meanwhile, Maxtor shut down its own NAS unit last year (see Maxtor Pulls Plug on NAS).

For now, Gateway's goals are specific [ed. note: no need to jump over the moon first time out the barn door]. With the 850 SCSI JBOD (just a bunch of disks) subsystem, it plans to undercut the prices of its chief competitors in the entry-level servers space -- Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM).

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