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NetApp Casts Wider Net

Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP) is preparing to launch a range of new products this week, as it attempts to ward off the recent competitive onslaught from EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT).

Microsoft officially launched its Windows Storage Server 2003 two weeks ago, with EMC trotting along at its side -- leading several industry analysts to suggest that NetApp could be facing its most serious challenge to date (see Microsoft Raises NAS Roof). Tomorrow, however, the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company is getting ready to fight back on several levels.

For starters, NetApp will officially announce its FAS200 entry-level storage appliance series. The company actually started shipping the FAS250 back in May, but will be announcing a new family member as well, the FAS270 (see Report: Most Storage Startups Flop).

The appliances, which are priced starting at $10,000 and $20,000 respectively, are aimed at departments and remote offices of NetApps existing Fortune 500 customers, as well as new midtier customers.

“In many ways, the requirements in remote offices are more onerous than in the data center,” says Suresh Vasudevan, NetApp’s senior director of software product marketing. “They don’t always have storage administrators [on site].” By plugging into a FAS250 or FAS270 companies can more easily centralize the backup from different offices and departments, he says. “This gives them the ability to do away with remote office tape backup completely.”

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