Apple today introduced Xsan 2, the first major upgrade to its high performance enterprise class Storage Area Network (SAN) file system for Mac OS X.

The updated model offers much improvement, not least in usability. Apple has made it easier for first time users to set up and quickly deploy a SAN.

Apple has redesigned the administration tools for Xsan 2, making it easier to set up and manage a SAN file system. The system intelligently handles different data types, file sizes and usage scenarios for ideal performance. For example, administrators can pre-set volume workload settings for optimal streaming of all file types, from very large files, such as uncompressed HD video to small data centre files.

Another improvement in this model is MultiSAN, a new feature allowing users on a single workstation to access multiple SANs at the same time. The product is qualified to work with third-party RAID storage solutions from Promise Technology.

Xsan 2 is fully integrated with Mac OS X Leopard and takes complete advantage of core Mac OS X features, such as Spotlight to search across multiple SAN volumes. Xsan 2 also works seamlessly with Server Assistant in Leopard Server for easy setup and configuration of SAN volumes. Leopard Server features, such as iCal Server, Mail Server and Podcast Producer, can now integrate with Xsan 2 to support clustered file systems.

Apple has qualified Xsan 2 with Xserve, Mac Pro and Apple Fibre Channel PCI-X cards. Xsan 2 requires Mac OS X version 10.5 or Mac OS X Server version 10.5 software installed and will support qualified Fibre Channel switches from vendors such as Brocade, QLogic and Cisco, and RAID storage hardware including Xserve RAID and Promise VTrak E-Class RAID subsystems.

Xsan 2 is available now and costs $999 per node (UK price to follow).