NetApp has introduced a new model to its FAS3000 line of block- and file-serving products. They are for mid-range enterprise use for Fibre Channel or iSCSI storage area network (SAN) storage or for network-attached storage (NAS) use.

The FAS3040 sits between the entry-level 3020 and the mid-range 3050. The line is completed by the top-end 3070. The FAS3040 can use either Fibre Channel or serial ATA disk or both and its maximum capacity is 126TB, meaning 252 x 500GB SATA drives.

It can have 8 4Gbit/s Fibre Channel ports plus Gigabit Ethernet ports. Ten gigabit Ethernet will be available later this year.

There is a V-series V3040 equivalent product too.

Think of the FAS3040 as competing with EMC's Clariion CX3-40 and HP's EVA8000 for SAN use. Compared to them it has slightly more capacity and offers RAID-DP, which they don't, and much better Snapshotting, also thin provisioning. The FAS3040 supports 17 percent more Exchange users than the CX3-40.

The thin provisioning and a cloning capability mark out the V3040 from EMC's InVista, IBM's San Volume Controller, and Hitachi Data Systems' NSC.

The pricing is £44,600 for 1 x FAS3040 controller, 2TB of raw storage, and iSCSI protocol software. A high-availability configuration such as 2 x FAS3040 controllers, 4TB of raw storage, iSCSI protocol software, and Fibre Channel protocol software will cost £64,600.

I hear that NetApp is working on serial-attached SCSI (SAS) drives but not on the FAS3000 platform. No plans have been confirmed yet.