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EMC Makes NAS Push

As enterprise customers continue to delay large data storage projects, competition for mid-range customers has intensified.

EMC this morning made two announcements aimed at this coveted market segment: a new network-attached storage device; and software to automate movement of files across dispersed locations.

On the hardware side, the Celerra NS600 combines the functionality of EMC's enterprise NAS operating system, DART (Data Access In Real Time), with the storage architecture used in its Clariion line.

The result, the Hopkinton, Mass., company said, is a device that can be configured for high availability or maximum performance - and can easily be converted from one mode to the other as business needs change.

It achieves these goals without clustering, a practice of tying multiple devices together to boost performance and safeguard data. The Celerra NS600 is available immediately and starts at $167,000 for a 1 terabyte configuration.

The Celerra NS600 offers customers "an alternative to the traditional approach requiring customers to cluster multiple NAS appliances together," said Dave Donatelli, an EMC executive vice president.

On the software side, EMC introduced OnCourse. The application helps organizations share data more efficiently than current methods (namely manual or scripted file distribution), both within its own departments and with business partners.

OnCourse is part of EMC's push toward flexible software. It allows secure peer-to-peer file transfers between the Celerra family of NAS products, Windows-powered NAS devices and servers, Unix servers, and Linux servers.

It also integrates with a company's customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning programs. Pricing starts at $33,000.

EMC envisions OnCourse will be used in several business sectors. Banks could transfer automatic teller data to back-end processing systems. A manufacturer might use the software to transfer drawings to an outsoured contractor. Or, a retailer could automatically distribute price lists to remote stores.

Steve Duplessie, a senior analyst with Enterprise Storage Group, said data migration is a labor-intensive task for IT staffers.

"The ability to automate large-scale file migrations will save time and money, and guarantee consistency at the same time," Duplessie said.

The moves come as jockeying continues in the storage sector. According to IDC, Network Appliance took the lead in the NAS storage market during the third quarter, with 38 percent revenue share, while EMC, the leader for the past several quarters, fell to the number 2 position with 31 percent share.

In the Open SAN storage market, Hewlett-Packard edged out EMC for the number 1 position with 30 percent revenue share, while EMC followed with 27 percent share, the Framingham, Mass., research firm said. EMC, however, continues to lead in the total network storage market (NAS combined with Open SAN) with 28 percent revenue share.