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NetDisk FAQ
NetDisk FAQ
Q. What is an NetDisk Controller?

A. NetDisk is an embeddable thin server through which SCSI storage devices are connected
for direct network attached access via Unix or Windows clients over TCP/IP on either

10BaseT or 100 BaseTX LANs.

Q. What markets will this product address?

A. NetDisk controllers will be used by OEMs and VARs to quickly develop and deploy thin file
servers, entry-level networks and network attached storage devices.

Q. What is a thin server?

A. A thin server is a networked device optimized to perform a specific function. In the same
way the NetPC concept falls under the thin client definition, a dedicated network "file" server,

for example, falls under the thin server definition. Typically, the thin server will provide strong

benefits wen compared with existing, general-purpose server technology.

Q. What was the impetus for the development of NetDisk?

A. To address the need for network appliances that are optimized for a particular purpose at a
reduced cost.

Q. How does NetDisk relate to servers?

A. Today's general-purpose servers are complex, expensive to procure and costly to maintain.
NetDisk extracts elements of server hardware and operating systems to enable the production

of special-purpose servers with significantly lower costs, great ease-of-use and higher


Q. What would be a practical application using NetDisk?

A. Used in conjunction with hard disk drives, NetDisk can be used to manufacture plug and
play network attached storage servers, allowing direct data transfer between storage and client

on the backbone or in a sub-net, thereby reducing the burden on the general purpose server.

NetDisk's low-cost and ease-of-use enables OEM's and VAR's to address small office and
small workgroup server markets normally repelled by the prospect of heavy technical training

and high product costs.

Q. Why not just use an inexpensive PC as a file server?

A. Compared to a PC, a thin server based on NetDisk is inexpensive. With NetDisk you don't
need unnecessary items such as processor chip sets, video chips, keyboards, monitors, and

network system licenses. The elimination of extraneous elements greatly reduces cost and

enhances product reliability.

Q. File servers are notoriously difficult to install and maintain. How will NetDisk
make this easier?

A. Among the requirements of the NetDisk design was "plug and play" operation. No
installation or maintenance will be required beyond plugging into the network and turning it on.

Q. What about performance?

A. Architected specifically for the purpose of moving data and incorporating RISC (Reduced
instruction Set Computing) processing, NetDisk promises to outperform virtually any other

device in its class. Typical general-purpose servers utilize processing, memory, and I/O models

that are optimized for computation, not data movement.

Q. Which network and client operating systems are supported?

A. NetDisk is both platform- and network operating system-independent and supports Unix and
Windows environments simultaneously.

Q. Is anyone else already offering this kind of embeddable technology?

A. There are facsimiles based on stripped-down PC motherboards and scaled-down network
operating systems, but they are still based on general-purpose architectures and number

crunching processors. To our knowledge, NetDisk is the only technology designed from the

ground up to move data.

Q. When will NetDisk begin shipping?

A. Shipments will begin in the late third quarter of 1997. Between now and then, OEMs and
VARs interested in obtaining more detailed information should contact their Polywell account representative.

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