Hitachi has entered the NAS market with a new blade its high-end virtualisation platform. The new blade for the TagmaStore array allows file-level data transfers to back-end storage.

The blade is the first Hitachi-developed NAS offering, although the company will continue to sell third-party NAS products under a reseller agreement with Network Appliance.

Meanwhile, NetApp and IBM tried to take some of the luster off of Hitachi's entry into the NAS market by making some lesser announcements. IBM said it plans to add tape management to its SAN File System by year's end, and NetApp renamed its SAN/NAS gateway product.

Gary Pilafas, a senior storage and systems architect at UAL Loyalty Services, said he will evaluate the new NAS blades for use with one TagmaStore array in production and two others that the airline recently purchased.

Pilafas said he hoped the blades can simplify his environment by managing the replication of block- and file-level data through a single interface. "You don't have to have another appliance in front of your SAN with five nines availability this way," Pilafas said.

Each of the TagmaStore's NAS blades scales to 512TB of capacity, and the array can hold up to eight blades, said Claus Mikkelsen, Hitachi's senior director of storage applications. As an example of pricing, a new NAS blade with 1.2TB capacity will be $86,700.

For its part, IBM disclosed plans to add tape management systems to the SAN File System. It also announced that it sold its 999th and 1,000th SAN Volume Controller (SVC) virtualization appliances.

And NetApp changed the name of its virtualisation appliance from the gFiler to the V-Series. NetApp also pledged that the V-Series will support IBM, EMC and HP arrays by mid-year. The appliance now supports Hitachi arrays. The device acts as a virtualisation layer between application servers and a heterogeneous storage architecture.