Network Appliance is expected to upgrade its NearStore disc array sometime this week, although no details were released by the company.
Sources claimed NetApp would unveil SnapLock, a technology that will let users partition disk space on NearStore file servers as nonrewritable capacity.
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The product is designed to help users address government regulations concerning document retention and the privacy and security of personal data.
While the price of SnapLock is unknown, NetApp's entry-level NearStore product retails for $240,000. The file server, used primarily to speed the backup process before archiving data to tape, scales from 12TB to 96TB.
Like Centera, SnapLock uses ATA disk drives to store fixed data such as e-mail messages, X-rays and document images, but the sources added that NetApp would not mimic rival EMC's approach of assigning a different identifier to each record.
One analyst said SnapLock would appeal to health care and defence, because it is easy to deploy on existing NearStore arrays. "It does provide the flexibility of having some of the file server [disc space] locked down and some of it not locked down," said the analyst, who asked not to be identified.
However, he added that SnapLock was not expected to meet all the US Securities and Exchange Commission's rules on data retention, which require financial services firms to ensure that electronic documents are indexed for retrieval purposes and can be verified as authentic and original.