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