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Up to now I haven't been following Maxtor closely enough. It looks like the Maxtor acquisition of CDS late last year yielded some interesting products. A new product was announced at about the same time as Quantum's Snap 4000 (Feb 22). Maxtor calls their offering the MaxAttach NAS 4000.

Here's a link to the press release

The announced product is clearly priced to be competitive with Quantum's price/performance.

The expanded list:

Network appliance F720 estimate $30,000/100GB, which is $300/GB

Procom NF100-R-80 direct from procom $10,164/100GB, which is $101/GB

Cobalt NasRAQ street $2,214/32GB, which is $69/GB
search on for NasRAQ

Maxtor MaxAttach 4000 40GB proposed $2400/40GB, which is $60/GB

Quantum Snap 2000 list $1799/40GB, which is $45/GB

Maxtor MaxAttach 4000 80GB proposed $2400/80GB, which is $60/GB

Maxtor MaxAttach 4000 160GB proposed $4000/160, which is $25/GB

Quantum Snap 4000 proposed $3000/120GB, which is $25/GB
(from the DSS press release)

There are a few notable differences between Maxtor's MaxAttach 4000 and Quantum's Snap 4000:

(1) Quantum can do RAID 5, which provides redundancy while spending just a fraction (in their case just 30%) of the raw disk capacity. Maxtor is only capable of RAID 1, which means that if you want redundancy, you need to mirror, which chops your capacity in half. But Maxtor touts the high reliability of simple mirroring - they have a separate power supply for each side of the mirror, etc.

(2) Maxtor's design is half the size and larger in raw capacity, which means that you can stack more than twice as many gigabytes in a single rack. Apparently, space is a serious consideration in big data centers, so thin boxes are a big win.

(3) Quantum's product is scheduled to be released a couple months before Maxtor's product.

I'm still looking forward to finding out about Quantum's Snap 4000 in more detail. But it looks like Maxtor's product may be simpler design, which I see as a plus.

Another thing for Maxtor is that their CDS group appears to be planning to go into other types of appliances: web servers, mail servers, etc. Thus they want to compete head-to-head with Cobalt. The impression I get from press releases is that much of the competition in the mid-to-low-end web server appliance business is ouside the U.S.

Competing in storage makes sense to me, but I'm not sure if competing in the diverse-appliance game is a good or bad thing for investors.

At any rate, looking at the direction the products are taking, I'm much happier being long in DSS and MXTR than in NTAP or EMC. (Just added a small MXTR position next to my small DSS position.)
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