IBM targets SMBs

Posted on August 02, 2005

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By Dave Simpson

—On the heels of EMC's high-end Symmetrix DMX-3 announcement (see EMC doubles capacity, bandwidth ) and Hitachi Data Systems' midrange flurry ( see Hitachi attacks midrange ), IBM today set its sites on the low-end small to medium-sized business (SMB) market with three product introductions:
--The TotalStorage N3700 NAS filer, the first product resulting from IBM's reseller agreement with Network Appliance, which was announced in April;
--The DR550 Express, a bundled version of the existing DR550 designed for SMBs; and
--A SAN Starter Kit that includes a disk array and a Fibre Channel switch with pricing starting at about $16,000.

The 3U N3700 NAS filer is based on Network Appliance's FAS270 and supports the CIFS and NFS protocols, as well as iSCSI. (International Data Corp. predicts that the iSCSI market is poised for a compound annual growth rate of more than 100% through 2009.) The N3700 scales from 1TB to 16.8TB with up to 56 Fibre Channel disk drives, with a single-controller entry-level configuration with 14 drives priced at $50,000. The filer is also available in a dual-controller version, as well as a clustered configuration. IBM plans to ship midrange NAS systems from Network Appliance within the next three months, according to Charlie Andrews, director of IBM TotalStorage.

Shipments of the N3700, which includes Network Appliance's Data ONTAP 7.1 software, begin late this month.

In a related announcement, IBM and Network Appliance last week announced a "statement of direction" revolving around the two companies' plans to integrate their virtualization technologies, including NetApp's V-Series and IBM's SAN Volume Controller (SVC). In addition, NetApp joined IBM and seven other vendors as a founding member of the Blade.org organization. (NetApp already provides back-end disk arrays for IBM's eServer BladeCenter systems.)

IBM also introduced a repackaged DR550 system today, which is designed for non-erasable, non-rewritable archiving of data for applications such as compliance. The DR550 Express scales from 1TB to 56TB using 250GB Serial ATA (SATA) disk drives and includes policy-based archiving, software-based encryption (for tape and disk) and optional data replication/mirroring technology. A 1TB, single-node RAID-5 configuration is priced from $45,000.

Finally, IBM unveiled a SAN Starter Kit for SMBs with xSeries servers. The bundled configuration includes a dual-controller TotalStorage DS400 Express disk array, a 10-port TotalStorage L10 Fibre Channel switch, and four Fibre Channel host bus adapters. With 500GB of disk capacity (four 146GB SCSI drives), pricing starts at $16,376.


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