Microsoft isn't reluctant to say that it's competing with NetApp for market share. Network Appliance, on the other hand, says it rarely runs into the lower-priced Windows-based NAS devices when bidding on a contract.
But Network Appliance, which uses its own operating system, has lost a lot of market share to Microsoft's storage partners, which hold about half of the market. So the one-time market leader fired back Monday with a line of low-cost NAS devices designed to compete with the Windows-based storage devices.
Network Appliance rolled out a line of clustered NAS systems that promise strong performance and scalability in a device that's only about 3 inches tall. And prices start around $10,000.
The new systems will increase competition between Microsoft and Network Appliance, says Jamie Gruener, an analyst at the Yankee Group. "Customers get a lot of functionality from a large NetApp box that will be available in the new line," Gruener says. "No matter what NetApp box a customer buys, though, he can still connect any NetApp box to another under one management umbrella."