Apple has introduced Xsan – a high-performance, enterprise-class Storage Area Network (SAN) file system.

Xsan is a 64-bit cluster-file system for Mac OS X that enables the consolidation of storage resources and provides multiple computers with concurrent file-level read/write access to shared volumes over Fibre Channel. This means that up to 64 video professionals can simultaneously access a single storage volume that supports multiple high-bandwidth video streams for efficient workflow in video and film editing, audio editing and effects, and motion-graphics creation.

Other features include metadata controller failover, Fibre Channel multipathing, file-level locking so that multiple systems can read and write concurrently to the same volume, bandwidth reservation for ingestion of bandwidth-intensive data streams, and flexible volume management for more efficient use of storage resources, according to Apple.

The Xsan Admin tool provides volume management, SAN file system configuration and remote monitoring. User quotas and access controls allow administrators to restrict storage usage and file access for maximum data security.

Heterogeneous Because Xsan is interoperable with ADIC’s StorNext File System, Apple says it can be used in heterogeneous environments that include Windows, UNIX and Linux server operating system platforms. Additionally, Xsan is supported by ADIC’s industry leading data management software, StorNext Management Suite.

Apple notes that Xsan is ideal for demanding professional video workflows as well as storage consolidation for business, government, education and high-performance computing.

Apple senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing Philip Schiller said: "Apple’s pro video and IT customers now have an affordable, high-performance SAN file system on Mac OS X. Xsan delivers a powerful end-to-end SAN solution, with less complexity and no hidden charges, at under half the price of alternatives from Avid, IBM and SGI."

Xsan is certified with Apple’s suite of professional applications, including Final Cut Pro HD and Motion. Apple has qualified Xsan for use with Xserve G4, Xserve G5, Power Mac G4, Power Mac G5, Xserve RAID and Apple Fibre Channel PCI cards. Xsan requires Mac OS X or Mac OS X Server 10.3 software and will support Fibre Channel switches from qualified vendors, such as Brocade, QLogic or Emulex.

A Beta version is available immediately. Xsan will be available this Autumn for £699 – according to Apple "the industry’s most aggressive price point".