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Dell brings NAS systems in-house

The build-to-order computer maker Dell has unveiled three general-duty network-attached storage (NAS) systems: the PowerVault 715N, 750N and 755N.

The company is consolidating its low and midrange product lines, and the 715N replaces a NAS offering from Quantum's Snap Server line, which Dell previously re-sold.

The 715N is scalable to 400Gbytes and is designed for small workgroups or remote offices. The device is based on Microsoft's Windows 2000 Advanced Server operating system and provides simple Ethernet-based storage that can be installed quickly, said Dell.

The arrival of the 715N means Dell will begin to remove Quantum's Snap Server NAS systems - models 701 and 705 - from its product line, said Brett McAnally, senior manager for the company's PowerVault product line.

"We will migrate from [the Snap Servers] to the Dell-manufactured devices," he added.

The 715N is built in-house at Dell's manufacturing facility in Texas, and is the latest example of Dell's aggressive business model

"Typically, what we do is monitor the market, and where we see the opportunity to commoditise, we take it," McAnally said. "If you look at midrange and entry-level NAS products, they are quickly approaching commoditisation, and by applying the Dell model there and working with Microsoft on standards-based configurations, we can do just that."

McAnally added that "there is definitely opportunity for revenue improvement" in commoditising a product.

Dell's other homegrown NAS systems, the 750N and 755N, are aimed at medium-sized workgroups and larger remote offices. The two models are scalable from 160Gbytes to more than 7Tbytes, and compete against similar offerings from Hewlett-Packard and Compaq.

"We've grown the performance characteristics [of the latest NAS systems] and added software enhancements like SAN-attached backup, and we've enhanced the clustering capabilities of the platforms," McAnally said.

Dell's decision to do away with its re-sell agreement with Quantum follows a decision by the company, to end a reseller agreement with NAS market leader Network Appliance.

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