…and IBM eyes SMBs

Posted on September 01, 2005

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By Dave Simpson

IBM last month set its sites on the 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 DR550 designed for SMBs; and
  • A SAN Starter Kit that includes a disk array and a Fibre Channel switch with a starting price of approximately $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. An entry-level, single-controller configuration with 14 drives is priced at $50,000. The filer is also available in a dual-controller version and a clustered configuration. The systems include NetApp’s Data ONTAP 7.1 operating system and NetApp’s optional software packages. IBM plans to ship midrange NAS systems from Network Appliance within the next three months, according to Charlie Andrews, director of IBM TotalStorage.

In a related announcement, IBM and Network Appliance released 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)-although no details or delivery time frames were provided. 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 began shipments of a repackaged DR550 system for SMBs last month, 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 at $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 (HBAs). With 500GB of disk capacity (four 146GB SCSI drives), pricing starts at $16,376.

IBM’s SAN Starter Kit is similar to a low-cost, bundled SAN configuration from Hewlett-Packard (HP StorageWorks MSA1000 Small Business SAN Kit), which was developed in conjunction with QLogic and introduced last year.

More recently, QLogic introduced a full line of low-cost components and bundled SAN configurations for its channel partners under the SAN Express moniker. Targeted at SMBs and first-time SAN users, QLogic’s SAN Express components include

  • 10-port, 2Gbps SANbox Express 1400 switches;
  • SANblade Express 200 Series HBAs; and
  • SANsurfer Express Windows-based management software.

A turnkey SAN Express Starter Kit with one switch, two HBAs, software, and cables has an MSRP of $3,295. QLogic’s SAN Express products are currently in a pilot program with the company’s channel partners.


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