NetApp launches new SME FAS system, lowers price of entry-level box

NetApp adds FAS2040, a higher-capacity system for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and slashes price of entry-level FAS2020 to make it more competitive for channel partners during economic downturn.

NetApp Inc. launched a new member of its FAS2000 family of storage systems for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and reduced the starting price of the entry-level SME system by almost 30%.

NetApp added the FAS2040, which scales higher and has more memory than the other systems in the company's SME family -- the FAS2020 and FAS2050.

The FAS2040 scales to 136 TB with 136 drives, with four on-board Gigabit Ethernet ports and one SAS port per controller. The FAS2020 holds 68 drives and the FAS2050 holds 104 drives, and both have four built-in Ethernet and no on-board SAS ports. The FAS2050 is a 4U box while the other two are 2U configurations, and all three are available with one or two controllers and support CIFS, NFS, iSCSI and Fibre Channel.

NetApp considers SMEs organizations with from 100 to 1,000 users and from $50 million to $500 million in revenue.

Bharat Badrinath, director of NAS solutions for NetApp, says the FAS2040 is the highest-performing system of the 2000 family. The FAS2020 is an entry-level system and the FAS2050 is for specialized deployments where customers want to run 10 Gigabit Ethernet and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) because its supports those protocols through PCI Express expansion slots.

Pricing for the FAS2040 starts at $11,690 with 3 TB of SATA drives. The FAS2020 starting price has been reduced to $7,920. It previously started at more than $10,000.

"Our partners say, 'Hey, we love your products, but it's priced higher than your competitors,'" Badrinath said.

John Woodall, vice president of engineering for Palo Alto, Calif.-based NetApp reseller Integrated Archive Systems Inc., says the price drop is especially important in the current economy.

"The 2000 family is very competitive on a technology basis, but additional discounts had to be approved, and that slowed down the sales cycle," Woodall said.

Woodall says he sees the FAS2000 family competing mainly with EMC's AIX and lower-end Clariion CX systems, the Hewlett-Packard MSA and LeftHand systems and Dell's EqualLogic platform.

"We see it used in test and development, for departments or lower-end basic NAS, more and more in VMware deployments, and in remote sites using SnapMirror or SnapVault [data protection software]," he said.

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