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Zetera to Release New Storage Option for Macs

By Jack M. Germain MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
Dec 22, 2006 4:00 AM PT

Network storage developer Zetera plans to release a Mac-based version of its PC platform storage area network (SAN) technology in the first quarter of 2007.

Zetera to Release New Storage Option for Macs

Zetera will preview a Mac Z-SAN enabled prototype storage device at San Francisco's Moscone Convention Center Jan. 8-12. The prototype will serve as a reference design for manufacturers. It demonstrates the ability of the Z-SAN technology to enable both high performance and shared storage in either a Mac or Windows environment.

For Home and Office

"Consumers and enterprise customers working on the Mac platform until now had to choose from selecting storage based on performance, scalability or price," Ryan Malone, vice president of partner and channel development for Zetera, told MacNewsWorld.

Zetera's engineers developed a solution to an idea based on using the same Internet Protocol (IP) model to access storage that Web browsers use to surf the Internet, he said.

"What we developed is very similar to fiber channel," he claimed.

Fiber channel is a protocol for server-to-storage and server-to-server networking. Zetera's approach is scaled to both consumers and businesses, Malone added.

Need Partners

Zetera is seeking partners to develop applications for its beta program, according to Malone. The company licenses its technology to product developers.

The beta phase for a Mac Z-SAN product will expand a similar storage system Zetera previously developed for the PC platform and licensed to other product manufacturers.

Zetera's file system software enables licensees to offer a shared or SAN file system as part of their Zetera-enabled Mac products, providing shared storage in the same manner as network attached storage (NAS), noted Zetera President and CEO Chuck Cortright.

How It Works

Z-SAN technology simultaneously optimizes four factors that drive the success of a network storage system. These are scalability, performance, reliability and cost.

Users of Z-SAN technology can install, configure and manage their network storage system without expensive hardware and extensive technical training, said company officials.

The Mac Z-SAN platform will offer support for both the native Mac file system and Zetera's Z-FS file system. The Z-FS file system enables full read/write sharing of data volumes between Apple and Windows machines.

Company officials said the Mac Z-SAN platform will target mixed platform businesses and those operations involved in video editing and other collaborative projects.

New Options

The industry currently offers Mac platform users a few mass storage options, Malone said. Zetera hopes that bringing its PC-based storage system to the Mac platform will provide more options.

"Our product will exceed the transfer speed of Firewire 400 and USB 2.0," Malone declared. "The advantage to business customers will be a storage option that gets the same utility of a SAN but provide better control locally."

Other file system equivalents to Zetera's approach cost thousands of dollars per seat, according to Cortright. This cost factor limits their application to the high end of the market.

By making network storage more affordable and simpler to use, Zetera hopes to change network storage for the Mac platform.

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