Dell Covers Its NAS

Upgrades its low-end Windows-based NAS, says it won't co-brand NAS with EMC

March 25, 2004

2 Min Read
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Just because they have a successful SAN partnership doesnt mean Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) and EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) are inseparable. They may be joined at the SAN, but not at the NAS, as Dell’s latest PowerVault offering shows.

Dell’s launch of its low-end Windows-based NAS this week proves it will take a path apart from EMC when it comes to NAS (see Dell Powers Up New NAS). Dell has put itself among the vendors looking to capitalize on Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) support of NAS on the low end while leaving the high end to EMC and Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP) (see Microsoft Powers Up NAS Play).

But last month, EMC CEO Joe Tucci said EMC and Dell are planning to co-brand a new low-end Clariion SAN system later this year, and he said the companies' focus on the low-end would include a NAS system as well (see EMC Lets Clariion Out of the Bag). Now it looks as though Tucci was likely referring to a lower-end version of the Celerra NAS system that Dell does not co-brand but does resell.

“We don’t plan to have a co-branded NAS with EMC,” PowerVault product manager Mike Symba says. “If EMC offered a lower-end Centerra, we would take a look at that.”

It makes sense for Dell to continue on its current path, considering it has benefitted from both its relationship with EMC and Microsoft’s NAS support over the last year or so. Indeed, Dell executives have attributed the partnership with EMC as the primary reason for Dell’s increasing its storage sales 47 percent year-over-year for the December quarter (see Dell's Storage Sales Jump). But Dell also has gained NAS share and claims the No. 1 spot in the $2,000 to $25,000 price range. Dell competes mostly with Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) and Iomega Corp. (NYSE: IOM) in the Windows-based NAS low end.“We’ve seen tremendous growth in our platform since we added Windows Server 2003 support," Skymba says. Dell added the support to its higher-end NAS systems -- the PowerVault 770N and 775N -- last August. It held off on upgrading the lower-end PowerVault 725N then because it was due for a hardware upgrade.

The new system -- the 745N -- ships with Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) Celeron or Pentium 4 processors, and its storage capacity ranges from 160 Gbytes to 4 Tbytes. It also borrows some software capability from Dell’s higher-end NAS systems, such as snapshots and Web-based management applications. Pricing starts at $1,799.

— Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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