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NetApp Zeroes In on SMBs

Network Appliance made its move into the SMB market today, launching the StoreVault S500 system.

The S500 is a 2U system that holds up to 12 SATA drives for a maximum of 6 Tbytes and supports NAS and iSCSI out of the box. Fibre Channel support is promised for the fall through a SAN starter kit from QLogic.

The StoreVault line differs from the rest of NetApp's products both from technology and go-to-market standpoints. It cannot be upgraded to NetApp's other FAS disk systems, which are modular and can be upgraded from the low end through enterprise. StoreVault systems will be sold exclusively through VARs instead of directly through NetApp.

"This is a clean sheet build for NetApp," says Sajai Krishnan, general manager of NetApp's SMB business unit. "This only scales within the StoreVault family. You can't pull a drive and go up the FAS chain."

Once the Fibre Channel kit is available, NetApp will give SMBs the ability to run Fibre Channel, iSCSI, and NAS on the same system -- something none of its main competitors offer. However, it's unlikely anybody would want it for a Fibre Channel SAN only. Unlike competition in the low end, such as the EMC and Dell AX150, the S500 has no dual-controller option. Also, the price nearly doubles for Fibre Channel connectivity.

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