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Gateway Jumps into Network Storage Sector

Gateway Inc. became the latest hardware player to jump into the storage networking game Monday when it released the first in a series of network attached storage (NAS) products for businesses who find themselves overwhelmed with large amounts of data.

On tap is the Gateway GS 400 storage system, which is available in three models, with pricing beginning at less than $12 per GB: Model 140, with 40 GB of storage, expandable to 160 GB, for $999; Model 260, with 120GB of storage, expandable to 240GB, for $1,999; and the powerful Model 460, with 240 GB of storage is priced at $2,799.

Key among this product development, according to computer maker Gateway, is the scalability of the storage offerings, which may be expanded with additional hard drives. Generating more memory is simplified through the system's front-loading hard drive bays, which happens to provide an additional level of security, as the drives can be removed and stored in a separate location.

NAS architectures bypass the host server and connect directly to the network, so that it does not joust over resources with the server. A proper analogy would be to think of NAS files as a replacement for file cabinets as the preferred storage medium in the digital age.

The GS 400 storage system is targeted for small and medium businesses, workgroups of large corporations, educational and government institutions. In designing the storage line, Gateway recognized that these organizations have a greater need for storage due to e-mail, more graphics and data-intense files such as presentations.

As system management and monitoring are browser-based the product suite requires low maintenance. Support for RAID levels 0, 1 and 5 are built into the GS 400 storage system for enhanced reliability. The GS 400 takes up little space, too; it can be stacked on a desktop or placed in a standard 19-inch server rack.

While NAS faces competition from another method of storage, storage area networks (SANs), it is largely agreed that no one can say for sure which method works better; it all depends upon the requirements of individual businesses.

What is more certain, is that the market for storage products is growing as research firm Gartner Dataquest said the market for NAS appliances is expected to grow from $1.4 billion in 2000 to $7.4 billion in 2004, as demand for greater network storage increases.

While Gateway is a new entrant, it is among strong company, many of whom exist just to create storage appliances and corresponding products, such as SAN specialists EMC Corp. and Brocade, and Network Appliance, which just last week announced a series of deals aimed at catering to companies' storage needs in the enterprise space.



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