Dell entry starts NAS price war

Customers for network-attached storage (NAS) systems, until recently a niche market, are becoming spoiled for choice.

Customers for network-attached storage (NAS) systems, until recently a niche market, are becoming spoiled for choice.

Nick Enticknap.

Dell has now thrown its hat into the increasingly crowded ring with the launch of the Powervault 735N, joining Network Appliance, EMC, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Sun.

Though Dell dipped its toe in the NAS market, it was the others who really made a splash last year in an attempt to topple market leaders Network Appliance and EMC.

Dell's entry may start a price war, as it claimed the 735N costs "about 65% less than similarly configured systems from major competitors". Prices start at $10,000 (£6,900) for a 144Gbyte system which can scale up to 1.44Tbyte. The target is the mid-range NAS market, which is set to double unit shipments every year until 2004.

The 735N is the first NAS product Dell has designed and built itself. It comes with one or two processors and a cut-down version of Windows 2000 Advanced Server, optimised for NAS usage.

Initially, Dell sold products supplied by Network Appliance but last year launched the 120Gbyte Powervault 705N, bought in from Quantum. Dell has now doubled this capacity and introduced a 60Gbyte version, the 701N, which costs just $1,400.

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