March 21, 2006
Storage companies are betting a technology once reserved for businesses will appeal to consumers dealing with large files shared by multiple PCs and a need for data protection.
Written by Stephan Shankland
Get ready for network-attached storage for consumers. With NAS, standalone disk storage systems are accessed by a PC over a network rather than being plugged directly into a computer’s USB port or internal drive bay.
Seagate Technology, Infrant Technologies, Western Digital, Iomega, Intel and others have begun selling networked storage devices that cost between $200 and $2,300 and include as much as 2 terabytes of capacity–roughly eight times that of a high-end PC. Advocates acknowledge that right now, the devices are best suited for technically savvy folks, but they’re speculating that a larger market of less-sophisticated buyers will follow in coming months.
“I do think it’s going to break out of the early adopter niche, and the timing is going to surprise people. In this holiday season coming up, you’re going to see some movement in these products,” said Lee Williams, Iomega’s vice president of product generation. “Where we originally anticipated being in single-digit thousands, we’re now looking at double- and triple-digit thousands for the year.”
Growing needs for storage space, data protection and file sharing bode well for consumer NAS. Digital photos, video and music gobble up gigabytes of storage space. That data is increasingly valuable–think irreplaceable wedding photos–which makes backup important. And sharing information makes sense, as home networks with multiple PCs today expand to include stereo and video electronics.
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