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Apple Unveils Xsan, Updates Pro Software

Expanding its Xserve server and Xserve RAID product family, Apple introduced Xsan, an enterprise-class SAN system priced at less than $1,000. The company also bolstered its menu of professional-video software products.

Xsan, announced Sunday at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference in Las Vegas, is a 64-bit cluster file system for Mac OS X designed to enable users to consolidate storage resources and provide multiple computers with concurrent file-level read/write access to shared volumes over Fibre Channel. The system's features include metadata controller failover and Fibre Channel multipathing to ensure high availability; file-level locking, which lets multiple systems read and write concurrently to the same volume; bandwidth reservation, which provides smooth ingestion of bandwidth-intensive data streams, such as high-resolution video; and flexible volume management, which enables more efficient use of storage resources, Apple said.

And for the first time on Mac OS X, Xsan allows up to 64 video professionals to simultaneously access a single storage volume that supports multiple high-bandwidth video streams, providing improved workflow in video and film editing, audio editing and effects, and motion-graphics creation, according to Apple.

Set up, administration and monitoring are built into the Xsan Admin tool, which provides volume management, SAN file system configuration and remote monitoring in an integrated application, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company said. User quotas and access controls let administrators restrict storage use and file access, providing solid data security. And because Xsan works with ADIC's StorNext File System, it can be used in environments that include Windows, Unix and Linux server platforms. ADIC's StorNext Management Suite data management software also supports Xsan, Apple said.

A beta version of Xsan is available now to qualified customers at www.apple.com/xsan. Plans call for Xsan to ship this fall for a list price of $999 per system, with the product available through Apple authorized resellers and direct from the Apple online store.

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