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Quantum restructures NAS operations

Storage specialist Quantum is spinning off its network attached storage (NAS) unit as part of a restructuring plan that sees the company focusing on its core tape-backup equipment business.

A new company, Snap Appliance, will purchase Quantum's NAS assets for $11.3m (£7.3m), and take on about 40 Quantum NAS personnel, Marije Stijnen, a Quantum spokeswoman, said.

The spin off will mean a retrenchment into the US market. Quantum offered NAS products around the world, but Snap Appliance will only sell in North America.

"We no longer deliver NAS products to European and Asia Pacific distributors," said Stijnen. "Snap at this time has no plans to offer its products outside North America."

Snap Appliance and Quantum will work together to support current international customers, said Stijnen. Some international distributors may sell Snap Appliance products outside North America, but those will not be supported locally, she said.

Chief executive of Snap Appliance will be Eric Kelly, who previously held positions at Maxtor, Dell and IBM.

Quantum created Snap Appliance about two years ago with the intention of taking the company public. That plan was abandoned due to stock market uncertainty. The current spin-off plan should be completed by the end of October, Quantum said.

Quantum's decision to spin off the NAS business instead of shutting it - which is what Maxtor recently did - surprised Charlotte Rancourt, director of research for storage systems at IDC.

"It is intriguing that they chose to move forward and continue in this market. It suggests that they have had some success and that they think that they can make this a viable business in the US, otherwise they would have taken the Maxtor route," she said.

Claus Egge, program director European storage at IDC in London, said he does not understand why Snap Appliance pulled out of Europe.

"I am surprised that they decided to withdraw from the European market. I do believe that they had a profitable business here," he said, adding that the withdrawal will probably upset users.

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