Apple's Xsan storage management software will ship next month, Apple has confirmed.

The company had intended to ship the software in autumn this year. In a statement released to Cnet, Apple confirmed: "Xsan will not ship this year; it will ship early next year." The company added that beta-testing continues. Apple declined to describe the reasons behind the delay.

April glimpse

Apple announced its plans for the product at the National Association of Broadcaster's show on April 18. Xsan is a Storage Area Network file system for enterprise-level deployments, with a particularly focus on video and storage.

The 64-bit cluster software is designed to work in tandem with Xserve and Xserve RAID. Its users will be able to consolidate storage resources, and the Mac OS X-based system can support up to 64 video professionals simultaneously accessing a single storage volume. It will cost $999.

Apple is achieving increasing success developing enterprise-ready products, with its Xserve RAID winning industry acclaim (and recent Oracle backing) for its price and performance.

Consult the Oracle

On its use of Xserve RAIDs in a low-cost storage array, Oracle said: "This low-cost storage implementation has been so successful, both in terms of manageability and performance, that Oracle is rapidly expanding its plans for deploying low-cost storage across multiple divisions and types of applications."

Oracle is working toward implementing effective Mac OS X support in Oracle 10g, its enterprise-class database solution. Interested parties can download early adopter software (subject to a binding technology agreement) from the company now, but no official release has been made.

Xserve clusters have been deployed worldwide, with the Virginia Tech cluster serving as the most famous example - Apple CEO Steve Jobs touched on the success of that deployment during his Macworld Expo keynote speech in January 2004.