Adaptec has launched a new Snap Server 500 family, despite putting its Snap Server unit up for sale.

These network-attached storage (NAS) products can use either Serial ATA (SATA) or serial-attached-SCSI (SAS) drives and move data at twice the speed of the existing Snap Server 4500 products.

Andy Walsky is sales director for Snap Servers in EMEA. He said: "It's twice as fast as other 1U, rack-mount 4-drive NAS servers running Windows Storage Server. That includes the 4500 and competing products from HP and Dell. They are all right in the same ball park, so to speak." This indicates HP's ProLiant DL100 G2 Data Protection Storage Server and Dell's PowerVault 745N.

The 510 and 520 Snap Servers have SATA disks and can scale up to 43.2TB from an initial 640GB. The Snap Server 550 can scale from 1.2TB of SAS disk to 26.4TB. The difference in capacity is due to different drives being used. SATA-based Snap Servers focus on capacity with 7,200rpm 500GB drives. SAS-based ones use higher-performance 15,000rpm drives with lower capacity.

The 550 is positioned as a higher-performance product because of its SAS drives and its 700MB/sec bandwidth. The 510 and 520 offer bandwidth up to 525 and 555MB/sec respectively.

The products come in 1U rack shelves with universal 2U, 12-drive SANbloc expansion units. Each 1U 500 has a 64-bit Opteron CPU and a Guardian O/S offering file-level NAS storage and block-level access via iSCSI. There is built-in redundancy with hot-swap power supplies, fans and drives.

Other suppliers such as Apace offer 64-bit Opteron NAS but none of the mainstream NAS suppliers: EMC; Dell; NetApp; etc. offer this level of NAS processing power yet. As NAS filers have to support more data, more users and more inter-NAS networking extra processing cycles are needed. Andy Walsky said: "In the future a dual Opteron configuration is something that's seriously being considered."

A source familiar with the product said: "There is a blank space for a second CPU in the box."

Adaptec believes that small and medium enterprises are inherently distributed with servers and NAS in remote offices all connected to a central office. Management from and backup to the central office are desirable aspects of their IT infrastructure.

Multiple Snap Server 500s can be managed from a central and single console. There is optional StorAssure continuous data protection, plus backup to a virtual tape library courtesy of bundled Bakbone NetVault software. Also available is Snap EDR data replication across a network.

The Snap Server 510 has a MSRP of $3,595 (£2,072), the 520 costs from $4,595 (£2,649) and the 550 from $9,995 (£5,765).

The Snap Server division is still for sale and Adaptec is at pains to present it as a profitable division with a strong product road map and investment strategy. Adaptec spoksperson James Carter said: "The sale is something we can't talk about. We're very excited about the product. It will be a big part of what any organisation will be buying."

With this kind of thorough and comprehensive product launch offering a significant advance in NAS performance we might be forgiven for wondering if the sale is moving to the back burner.