Compellent has released a version of its Storage Center SAN array that supports both block- and file-level storage access.

The company, which gets its network-attached storage capability from ONstor, has now adopted Microsoft's Windows Storage Server 2003 R2, which provides unified SAN/NAS in a single box.

The new Storage Center SAN array supports file de-duplication, in which only one copy of a file will be stored even though several copies of the same file might exist. This capability could save 35 percent of disk space, according to Compellent.

The NAS-based Compellent capability also allows IT administrators to manage SAN volumes and multiple Fibre Channel or iSCSI connections.

Steve Merkel, CIO for Data393, a managed hosting and IT infrastructure provider, anticipates the benefits of Windows-based NAS with block-level access.

"We are in the process of evaluating their NAS technology," Merkel said. "We saw a need to have a managed storage offering for our customers that could handle NAS data. We do a lot of load-balanced web farms, where NAS makes a perfect play for us. We also have multimedia companies that rely on file-based data."

The Compellent NAS server also boots from the virtualised Storage Center system. It contains either Fibre Channel or 750GB Serial Advanced Technology Attachment hard drives and has the option of 4Gbit/s Fibre Channel controllers.

The NAS hardware consists of a single dual-core 2.4GHz processor, 4GB memory, dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, dual-port 4 Gbit/s Fibre Channel or dual-port iSCSI connection, redundant power and cooling and diskless storage. Software with the NAS node consists of Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition operating system, integrated Multipath I/O (MPIO) for Fibre Channel or iSCSI failover and Virtual Disk Service (VDS) for volume management. Additionally, the Storage Center NAS supports CIFS, NFS, HTTP and HTTPS protocols.

Storage Center Version 3.6 with NAS starts at about $36,000 with a diskless NAS platform running Windows Storage Server 2003 R2, Fibre Channel connection and 4TB of storage capacity. Adding a Compellent NAS platform to an existing Storage Center SAN starts at $10,000.