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Panasas Stays Hermetically Sealed

Panasas Inc. is on track to ship its NAS appliance in June -- but customers using Windows or Unix servers will be disappointed, as it will not support CIFS or NFS protocols out of the gate, Byte and Switch has confirmed (see Panasas Pins Future on Unproven Spec).

CIFS, or Common Internet File System, is Microsoft Corp.'s (Nasdaq: MSFT) protocol for network file sharing, while NFS, or Network File System, was developed by Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) and is the standard for sharing files between Unix servers.

Without CIFS or NFS, then, Panasas is ignoring virtually the entire NAS market.

The story smacks of a similar problem that another next-gen NAS player, Zambeel Inc., ran up against when it decided not to support CIFS from the get-go. The only news out of Zambeel these days seems to concern its dwindling staff (see SAN Startups on the Block, Zambeel COO Skedaddles, Starbucks Hotspots (Slight Return), and Zambeel Slams Windows Shut).

The first release of Panasas's appliance, code-named SmartDrive, will include a proprietary distributed file system running on Linux, according to sources familiar with the company's plans. That means any host or client that wishes to access the Panasas NAS box will have to be running a Panasas's Linux-based file system. The system will not support snap mirroring, either, they say.

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