By Lisa Coleman
This month, IBM began shipments of its first network-attached storage (NAS) server to take advantage of ATA disk drives. More and more NAS devices are being outfitted with ATA drives to cut costs while moving the file servers into the midrange and high-end markets.
The TotalStorage NAS 100 is the newest member of IBM's Windows-based NAS product line and is a 1U device with four ATA drives offering up to 480GB. Features include hot-swappable drives and the same management software that other TotalStorage NAS appliances offer. Pricing starts at $4,420.
IBM's Director 3.1 Agent software for centralized management, which is also used in IBM's higher-end NAS 200, 300, and 300G appliances, helps detect errors prior to their occurrence and has capabilities for monitoring and setting thresholds for hardware and software conditions. In addition to the Director software, the NAS 100 uses a Tivoli storage manager agent that performs backup and restore.
IBM is counting on its software and hot-swappable ATA drives to add an extra level of reliability that some of its competitors lack.
"We built in reliability features that you don't generally find in this [price] class of products," claims David Vaughn, product manager for storage networking at IBM.
The NAS 100 comes with dual 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports for fail-over. The device also uses Persistent Storage Manager for snapshots, which are a growing trend in NAS devices.
IBM's NAS 100 supports the SNMP and CIM standards and has been pre-tested for interoperability with a variety of software packages from vendors such as Legato, Tivoli, and Veritas.
Last year, the number of ATA drives in NAS servers grew by 64%, according to Gartner Inc. Initially, ATA drives were incorporated into NAS servers primarily for disk-to-disk backup solutions.
Other vendors that are delivering ATA-based NAS include Compaq, Dell, FIA Storage Systems, Maxtor, Network Appliance, and Quantum.