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No. of Recommendations: 11
I hope I'm not intruding, but I think your assumptions about NTAP's dollar cost per gigabyte of storage may be slightly off.

In your assumptions, you folks have been using NTAP's low-end F720 file server, which retails about $30,000, and starts with 100GB of storage. This gives you a figure of $300/GB. However, from what I understand, it's not difficult to add additional disks to this configuration, for little more than the nominal costs of the disks. (I'm not 100% certain, but I've heard references to this possibility at a couple of NTAP conference calls.)

If you look at the high-end F760 file server, which retails for about $70,000-$80,000, and maxes out (I believe) at 1.4 terabytes, then the dollar cost per gigabyte is only about $50. This is much more comparable to the low-end servers that sell for about $25 per gig. You also need to query whether the low-end servers offer features like SnapShot (up to ten automatic instant backups at a given point in time), SnapMirror (identical backups to more than one storage medium), SnapRestore (restoration software), clustering / load balancing software, etc.

NTAP is working (most likely through its partnership with BRCD, although neither party is talking about it yet) to expand their capacity to 3 terabytes and beyond. And NTAP's business model is for the price point of their servers to remain in the $30,000 to $80,000 range, as they continue to add additional functionality and storage space. Plus, with NTAP filers there are the intangibles that add to total cost of ownership (TCO) savings, such as minimal installation time, ease of use, and heterogenous data sharing among Unix, NT and HTTP servers. I'd be really wary about staking my investment dollars in any "value plays" in this space, without a clear indication that those companies were experiencing significant sales growth and profitability.

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