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Ina Fried

Staff Writer, CNET

Apple Computer’s rack-mounted storage system received a vote of confidence Monday, with database giant Oracle endorsing the Xserve RAID as part of an initiative to cut storage costs.

Oracle has identified the Apple product as one of several storage systems that would make a good low-cost alternative to the types of high-end monolithic storage systems that have traditionally been used to store Oracle databases. Additionally, Oracle is using the Xserve RAID in its own technology department to store e-mail, voice mail and calendar information.

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Carly Fiorina on stage at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco.

Oracle is using the Xserve RAID for a task once reserved for pricier Fibre Channel-based disk arrays. The software giant noted in a white paper that the Apple approach was about three times lower on a cost-per-megabyte basis.

“Its performance is excellent,” Oracle said in the document. Apple said Oracle plans to use 50 to 100 terabytes of Apple storage. Apple itself has been shifting much of its data storage capacity from EMC and IBM systems onto Xserve RAID.

In addition to Apple’s storage box, Oracle also identified systems from HP, NetApp, EMC/Dell and Engenio as suitable candidates for its Resilient Low Cost Storage Initiative.

Meanwhile, Apple also said Oracle is moving ahead with previously announced plans to offer its 10g software for the Mac sometime before the end of the year.

Apple hopes the ability of Oracle’s software to run on Mac servers will not only lead some businesses to move to the Mac but also help the Mac appeal to many of those developing their own applications that run on top of Oracle’s software.

“That opens the door to a lot of people that maybe have not looked at the Mac platform,” said Brian Croll, a senior director of worldwide software product marketing for Apple.

In addition to support from Oracle, Apple also plans to have its own $999 storage file system software, dubbed Xsan, available shortly. The software is still on track to be launched this fall, Apple said, giving the company about two weeks to apply the finishing touches and start shipping.