Sun Microsystems has entered the high-end network-attached storage (NAS) market with a family of file servers that allow those managing networks at dot-com companies, enterprise workgroups and service providers to add up to 10 terabytes of storage to local Ethernet networks.
The Sun StorEdge N8000, 8400 and 8600 are NAS appliances that span low-end workgroup use to high-end corporate use. They have capacities that range from 200GB to more than 10 terabytes of storage.
Market research firm IDC expects the rapidly growing NAS appliance market to exceed $US3 billion by 2003. Network Appliance and EMC have dominated the enterprise segment with a number of smaller file server vendors, such as Quantum and Maxtor, on the low end.
Sun's chances of making a dent in the high-end NAS market are good, analysts said. Steve Duplessie, an analyst with Enterprise Storage Group, said Sun made a half-hearted attempt at penetrating the NAS market two years ago with the Sun Netra.
"If Sun does it right this time, their chances are great, because all those other boxes are installed in Solaris shops," Duplessie said. "Sun's appliance sounds cheap compared to Network Appliance and EMC."The N8000 has 10/100Base-T connections to the network and operates on Unix, Windows NT and 2000, or any network that uses the Network File System or Common Internet File System.
"We are a storage service provider that provides our services into collocation facilities," said Chris Reidler, vice president of engineering for Storageway.
"Our customers want a variety of file services that can scale from 50GB up to terabytes of storage. Because [Sun's] file servers are based on Solaris, I can participate in open clustering or management from a single console."