VA Linux Releases Midrange NAS
- By Scott Bekker
- April 17, 2001
Hoping to compete with Network
filers, VA Linux Systems
has released a NAS filer to offer scalable storage to departmental and
VA’s 9450’s NAS Appliance is a 2U rack unit which can
manage up to 6.6TB of data. It connects to the network via gigabit Ethernet,
and employs the Ultra160 high-speed SCSI standard. VA bundles the device with
its VA NetAttach Linux operating environment, to enable transparent management
via a browser or command line.
As NetApp attempts to move its filers further up the
enterprise, promoting the devices as alternative to SANs, VA hopes to erode some
of NetApp’s market at the midrange. Unlike NetApp, which uses proprietary
operating systems and filesystems, VA based its NAS around Linux, and supports
NFS, CIFS, and the Macintosh filesystem, HFS.
Cheryl Sindelar, a VA product marketing manager, says Linux offers distinct
advantages over proprietary operating systems. “Using open source leverages so
many developers that don’t work for you,” she says, noting software upgrades
can be released and supported more quickly than on a proprietary black box. If
VA decides to support additional filesystems, it can simply roll them into the
kernel, and release it to customers. Additionally, daring users can modify the
VA NetAttach, VA’s operating environment for NAS
devices, provides a value add to both the storage hardware, and Linux. “What
makes storage storage is the software that runs it,” says David Farace, director of storage system sales. He points to the automated interface for
setting up Samba, the Linux service for networking with Windows, as a key
feature for some customers. “Samba can be a real bear to integrate and manage,”
he says, so users may be aided by the automation.
VA also announced today that it hired a number of
prominent Samba developers to join its NAS software team. Andrew Tridgell and
Jeremy Allison led the volunteer Samba group, managing developers working on
the Windows services project. –Christopher
Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.