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Dell Does the NAS Limbo

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Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) today unveiled a new NAS system that can get small businesses into network-attached storage for as little as $3,000.

Based on Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows Storage Server 2008, the new Dell PowerVault NX300 stores up to 4 terabytes of data on SAS or SATA drives in a 1U rack space, and more NX300 arrays can be added as need to form a collaborative namespace.

Dell's move follows HP's (NYSE: HPQ) introduction of Windows Storage Server-based offerings in May and Dell's own NX3000 unveiled in June.

The NX300 includes single instance storage, or deduplication, for eliminating duplicate data and saving on storage space, and a distributed file system for improved data availability. It supports Dell's OpenManage systems management for remote management, snapshots and replication.

The new system also supports CIFS and NFS to share files across non-Windows systems.

Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Terri McClure said the new NAS offering combines "good packaging and a price point that seems to hit the low end of the market."

Larry Hart, Dell's worldwide senior manager for storage and networking, said the new system boasts ease of management and an automated setup that can have it "up and running in less than 15 minutes."

The offering is the latest in Dell's growing data storage portfolio, which also includes EqualLogic iSCSI arrays and a long-running unified storage and SAN alliance with EMC (NYSE: EMC).

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