Network Appliance has brought out a new line of mid-range storage which it says is faster than the FAS 940/920 line they replace, plus allows users to mix SATA with Fibre Channel disks.

“The 3000 family has four times the capacity of the previous range and at least twice the price performance,

depending on the workload,” said Suresh Vasudevan, NetApp’s senior vice-president of product management.

The first two in the line are the FAS3020, which can hold up to 168 disks totaling 50TB of raw storage; and the FAS3050, which can hold up to 336 disks and 84TB of storage.They also support Fibre Channel storage area networks, IP-SAN and network attached storage environments.

In addition, there’s also an option for mixing serial ATA hard drives in 3000-series models, which Vasudevan said promises savings for customers.

Generally, Fibre Channel is used for primary storage, with the less expensive SATA disk-based units reserved for less important tasks such as archiving.

NetApp had a separate ATA line called NearStore for However, customers with the option customers will be able to use both in 3000-series units.

By mixing drives “you can create a tiered infrastructure such that your costs match your applications’ criticality,” said Vasudevan.

The new platform has impressed at least two NetApp VARs here.

“It’s definitely filling a hole in their product line,” said Aaron Smith, a sales rep at Ottawa’s TeraMach Technologies, a data management VAR specializing in sales to the federal government.

The fact that buyers can mix disk drives will be appealing, he said. It’s a perfect option for customers with a lifecycle data management strategy.

“It’s going to really drive down cost,” he added.Scott Wagner, president of Zentra Technologies of Calgary, sells NetApp products as well as storage from EMC and IBM, and said the FAS3020/3050 will compete “extremely well” against its competitors.

“The reason most clients buy NetApp is ease of use and expandability,” he added, “This just adds performance to one of the reason.”

Competitors will respond eventually, he said, “but this is a great step in price-performance.”

Canadian pricing was not available, but Wagner said 3000-series storage could go up to $750,000.

At the same time as it announced the FAS3000 series, NetApp also said a V-Series 3000 line, which does not include hard disks, will be available this month. The V3020 and V3050 has the same virtualization engines as the FAS3000 but can be connected to storage from IBM, Hitachi Data Systems, Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard.

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