Unisys has pipped Compaq at the post by launching a Fibre Channel storage system in Europe two months before similar products from its rival.
The Primestor NAS2000, available now, is a network attached storage (NAS) server using the emerging Fibre Channel standard interface.
But Compaq?s enterprise product manager, Hugh Jenkins, said: ?Unisys shipping the product ahead of us is somewhat incidental to our plans as we already have a lot of customers in Fibre Channel storage.?
Compaq is not the only rival facing Unisys as it steps up its efforts in the open storage market. Ian Andrew, marketing manager for Unisys storage solutions in northern Europe, positioned the product: ?Compaq and EMC are aiming for the top end of the market but we are aiming slightly below that.?
Jenkins also felt that the two companies would not be in direct competition initially but believes that Compaq may eventually move into Unisys' territory. ?It is not our business at the moment but we may go that way in the future. Our March launch will concentrate on providing highly integrated storage solutions for Compaq server based networks.?
Fibre Channel overcomes the distance and speed limitation of the current network connection standard, SCSI, ?With SCSI there is a distance constraint of about 25 metres but fibre allows you to have up to 125 devices connected at a distance of nearly 10 kilometres,? said Andrew.
The NAS approach consists of a range of disk drives that can be accessed directly over a network by multiple systems. The storage server acts as a specialised network data mover, pushing and pulling data such as as text files and video clips.
Andrew sees very wide applications for the NAS2000. ?The end line customers are going to be companies who have storage intensive requirements. One example where NAS has been sold heavily is the film production market in Hollywood," he said.
He has high hopes for future business. ?This is a new a market but is annually accounting for $4.3 billion worldwide in 1997. What is very important is that is that its is going to have a compound annual growth rate of 27 per cent which will lead to a total market size of 11 billion in 2000,? he added.
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