Buoyed by the Unix base of Mac OS X, Apple is taking on the giants of corporate computing with Xsan. An Australian reseller explains the appeal of Xsan to these markets.

Jason Castan, CEO of Emperor's Mind, a reseller of professional graphics systems explained Xsan's appeal thus: "It is in two broad areas: One is video, a very general area. People there want huge storage, available (simultaneously) to a number of workstations - say, a high-definition workstation, an ingest workstation and cutting on a third - and they can all work on the same media at the same time," he said.

"Corporate users have shown interest in Xsan's live expansion capabilities and in the simultaneous access it allows to their enormous files", he told Sydney Morning Herald.

Another benefit is that "there's no configuration problem in terms of your data; no data loss."

An avid competitor

And Xsan has an advantage over Avid, according to the industry. This is principally price but also speed and capacity, notes the paper. An Avid set-up costs roughly three times more than Xsan/Xserve, states the Sydney Morning Herald.

Castan adds: "One of the big questions people ask is can you guarantee bandwidth across your storage area network. Xsan has a programming layer so an application such as Final Cut Pro 5 tells Xsan what it needs. So, if you are running an HD suite you can dictate the bandwidth, and if you are running a standard-definition suite, you can tailor it to that too.

"That bandwidth is given at an application level, not at a machine level. You can adjust it, but it is like a guarantee. So you do not wind up with a situation where you have decided to capture your HD footage and someone else has taken up your entire bandwidth and therefore the capture fails."