Dell, IBM, Compaq expand NAS options

Posted on December 01, 2001

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BY LISA COLEMAN

Three of the largest storage vendors continue to push the price/capacity/feature envelope in network-attached storage (NAS) with their latest entries in the midrange market, a space that low-end NAS leader Snap Appliances entered last month (see InfoStor, November 2001, p. 8).

Dell's PowerVault 750N (tower) and 755N (rack) NAS servers scale from 219GB to 7.22TB, use a streamlined Windows 2000 operating system, and support RAID and clustering. Both servers feature ActiveArchives for point-in-time copy, single or dual 1GHz Intel Pentium III processors, NTFS 5.0 journaled and encrypted file systems, and redundant, hot-swappable power supplies, fans, and drives.

Both NAS devices received Microsoft Windows Hardware Compatibility List certification, which will allow end users to incorporate NAS servers in SQL Server 2000 database environments.

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Prices start at $8,700 for 219GB, or about 3.9 cents/MB.

Dell's new products hit the streets just weeks after it announced a multi-billion-dollar reseller agreement with EMC. The two companies will co-brand EMC's Clariion line of disk arrays, including the IP4700 NAS server.

"EMC's NAS is enterprise class, the upper end of the scale. So we will continue to focus our R&D in the midrange and entry-level space," says Brett McAnally, senior product manager of PowerVault storage at Dell.

Dell also unveiled its entry-level, four-drive 715N NAS device, which scales from 160GB to 400GB and is also based on Windows 2000. The 715N includes dual Ethernet interfaces, snapshot copying, and RAID support. A 160GB version is priced at $1,999 (1.25 cents/MB), while 240GB and 400GB versions are priced at $2,799 and $3,899, respectively.

Continuing its initiatives in storage networking, IBM is rolling out three upgraded NAS servers that target the midrange market. The TotalStorage NAS 200 (tower) scales from 109.2GB to 440.4GB. Based on Windows, the system includes one or two Intel Pentium III processors. A rack version of the NAS 200 scales from 109.2GB to 3.52TB.

Both devices have redundant, hot-swappable power supplies and disk drives, multi-protocol support (CIFS, NFS, FTP, HTTP, and NetWare), and 250 True Image Data software for backup.

The NAS 200 tower and the rack version are priced from $14,000 (12.8 cents/MB) and $36,000 (about 33 cents/MB), respectively.

The TotalStorage NAS 300 is a rack-mount device that scales from 109.2GB to 6.61TB. Like the NAS 200, the TotalStorage 300 includes redundant, hot-swappable components as well as two Pentium III processors. Base price for the NAS 300 is $115,000.


Compaq, IBM bridge NAS and SAN

Compaq and IBM recently introduced products that bridge network-attached storage (NAS) and storage area network (SAN) environments.

Compaq introduced the Storage Works NAS Executor E7000, a high-end NAS device that uses the SAN's disk drives for storage instead of internal NAS drives. One of the major benefits, according to Mark Young, vice president and general manager of Compaq's NAS division, is scalability: "You can attach to whatever storage is in the SAN fabric."

"The 'Holy Grail' is to pool your storage and manage it centrally, which reduces your administrative costs and allows higher utilization of disk drives," says Young.

The E7000 ties into the SAN's block-level replication for copying data for business continuance, and it also includes a tool for replicating the file system. The unit has four processors, 4GB of memory, and 16 network interface card ports.

The one catch is that the E7000 works only with a Compaq SAN, although it does work with multiple operating systems, including Windows, Unix, Linux, NetWare, and Macintosh.

The E7000 offers storage virtualization, snapshot capabilities, backup, and anti-virus support. It connects to SAN storage via 1Gbps Fibre Channel. A two-processor and four-processor E7000 is priced at $48,465 and $69,944, respectively.

IBM has added clustering capability to its TotalStorage 300G NAS gateway, introduced in February 2001. The 300G scales from 11TB to 22TB and connects clients and servers on an IP network to a SAN. A 2-port Fibre Channel adapter and a 4-port Ethernet adapter are available for fault-tolerant LAN-to-SAN bridging. The 300G has dual Pentium III processors.

The 300G is designed for companies that have, or plan to implement, a SAN, or it can be used in large file-serving environments with IP clients and servers. In addition, the device enables IP clients and servers access to SAN storage for backup and restore. The 300G and IBM's NAS 200 and 300 devices use Tivoli Storage Manager version 4.2; the 300G also uses Tivoli's SANergy technology. The gateway is priced from $32,000.

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