Network Appliance Introduces 12-TB NAS Filer

Network Appliance has unveiled 12-TB network-attached storage (NAS) appliances, or filers -- the company's first enterprise-class products.

The new high-end NAS devices use 733-MHz Pentium II chips, rather than the Digital Alpha processors found in the company's current storage devices. The F840 family also runs an enhanced version of Network Appliance's Data ONTAP -- Version 6.0 -- which the company says improves response time by 50 percent.

The F840 line has been designed to meet the expectations of today's users, who expect "to have everything in a box," said Net Appliance CEO Dan Warmenhoven. "Users want more in a box so we're giving them more in a box."

The new F840c and F840 Filers feature the Data ONTAP 6.0 operating system and boast new high-capacity thresholds. The F840 offers up to 6 TB of storage and data throughput of up to 63 Mbits per second. Prices start at $100,700, for 126 GB capacity. The F840c, which features integrated failover and active/active clustering, provides up to 12 TB of raw storage and throughput up to 123 Mbits per second. Prices start at $318,900 for 504 GB capacity. The 12-TB capacity is more than 8 times that of Network Appliance's current high-end product. Filers in the F840 family are scheduled to start shipping this month.

The CEO also said the F840 family "takes us right up against the largest applications and storage systems in the market today." That means Net Appliance is taking on some weighty competitors, like EMC and Sun.

Despite the heavyweight competition, Network Appliance is targeting a fast-growing market. Warmenhoven noted that the market for network-attached storage is predicted to grow about 70 percent per year and pointed out that his company's business is growing even faster. The NAS market is hot, Warmenhoven claimed, because NAS is a "superior solution" to server-attached storage. "It's not something totally separate in terms of the application space, and that makes it a good solution for solving data management infrastructure issues."