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Mixing Storage Devices

BlueArc combines Fibre Channel and ATA storage standards in one product
BlueArc Corp., a small storage vendor making inroads in the high-end market, this week is introducing a product to make it easier for businesses to use a mix of network-attached storage appliances. Many companies use high-performance Fibre Channel devices and low-end ATA appliances, but moving lots data between them can clog a network.

BlueArc's SiliconServer Si8000 uses something called multitiered storage technology to move data between the two types of devices. Gartner analyst Roger Cox calls the device a major step forward for storage customers. "They're the only NAS vendor shipping a product supporting both Fibre Channel and ATA drives," he says.

Fios Inc., which handles electronic discovery of documents for law firms, is testing the BlueArc device. Chief operating officer Lyman Potts says it lets him move data 10 times faster between Fibre Channel and ATA devices than products from other vendors. "Because of it," he says, "we could process jobs in three days instead of five."