Celerity is quickness, speed, rapidity of motion or thought. It seems an apt description of EMC which may be about to introduce a new high-end NAS box.

EMC currently has four NAS products:-

- NetWin 200, a Windows Storage Server 2003-powered entry-level box
- NS Series/integrated - NS500 or NS700 for distributed file serving with one or two data movers and integrated Clariion storage
- NS Series/Gateways - NS500g, NS700G, NS740G with one, two or four data movers and external storage
- Celerra Clustered Network Server (CNS) with 2 - 14 data movers and integration with external Clariion and/or Symmetrix arrays.

The NS and CNS products are branded Celerra and run EMC's DART - Data Access in Real Time - operating software, currently at rev level 5.3.

It contains HighRoad, a multiplex file system - MPFS - which can integrate NAS and SAN into a unified storage network. It can dynamically chose either LAN or SAN routes for data to optimise performance and is said to offer direct channel access to single data images.

The supposed Celerra NSX will run DART 5.4 and be able to virtualise file systems. It could be capable of 300,000 NFS (Network File System) operations per second. EMC's CNS delivers up to 325,000 NFS ops/sec.

In comparison Network Appliance's GF980C is claimed to deliver up to 72,000 NFS ops/sec in a dual cluster configuration.

SpecFS results (here) don't exist for the precise models mentioned. NetApp's FAS 980 - a disk array product - with two 'cores' (meaning CPUs I think) has a 36,083 score. EMC's NS700 in a clustered configuration with two CPUs has a 36,335 score.

Celerra NSX will have a 4-8 blade design with 16TB capacity per blade. With DART 5.4 it will be able to merge direct-attached storage and iSCSI storage into a single entity. It will be possible to move data between disk tiers and so have an ILM base function. Various NSX components will be redundant and hot-swappable.

It is reported that a 4-blade NSX will cost $278,250 (c£155,000 at current conversion rates) and be available from May onwards.

Network Appliance and IBM have just allied together in the NAS area. This was shortly after NetApp announced that its G-Series could virtualise multi-vendor arrays and would be known as the V-Series.

Hitachi Data Systems has just announced its TagmaStore NAS blade. Techworld discussed the HDS, IBM and NetApp moves here.

If the EMC NSX product plans come to life then EMC appears to have a capability in the TagmaStore NAS blade area. However, unlike the TagmaStore NAS or the V-Series from NetApp the NSX will not, it appears, be capable of multi-vendor virtualisation. That function is located by EMC within the storage fabric and carried out by its Storage Router.

For the NSX to virtualise multi-vendor drive arrays then it would have to have a Storage Router behind it which then linked to the heterogeneous arrays. This is do-able easily at a link-the technical-lego-blocks level but whether it's in EMC's plans we don't know.

The NAS product and technology area is moving with, and there's no better word for it, celerity. We can be sure that IBM and Network Appliance will be talking urgently about high-end NAS strategy and may even bring an announcement forward.