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NetApp Promotes SATA

New midrange NAS systems from Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP) take aim at users' growing interest in using cheaper SATA disks for everyday applications instead of just backup and archiving (see NetApp Releases New Midrange Systems).

While NetApp has offered its NearStore appliances for SATA storage for a couple of years, it's equipping its new models with redundancy, clustering, and all the software options that go with its primary storage devices, including virtualization.

Prospects include companies wanting extra storage without going whole hog into Fibre Channel. NetApp suggests them for databases, small email configurations of up to 1,000 users, and similar applications.

NetApp's older NearStore line is recommended for so-called secondary storage, including disk backup and reference data. The FAS3000 can also be used for secondary storage, NetApp says.

Analysts seem to approve NetApp's tack. According to Brad Nisbet, program manager at IDC, NetApp is setting itself up to reap the benefits of increased use of what he terms "capacity-oriented" disks like ATA, SATA, and FATA, as well as "performance-oriented" Fibre Channel, SCSI, and SAS drives. "By 2008, we expect the capacity-oriented portion of total external disk storage systems to be about 61 percent of terabytes and 44 percent of revenue," he writes in an email.

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