IBM overhauls storage lineup

Posted on February 15, 2008

By Kevin Komiega

—IBM this week announced a bevy of enhancements across its entire portfolio of storage hardware, from its high-end SAN, NAS, and data-archiving systems to its director-class switches and LTO-4 tape drives/libraries.

Leading off are two additions to the N7000 series of SAN gateways—the N7700 and N7900 are designed for large-scale data centers as well as storage consolidation platforms for mid-size enterprises.

The N7700 can be configured with 840 disk drives for up to 840TB of capacity. The N7900 scales to 1,176TB across 1,176 drives, and has 64GBps of internal bandwidth.

The additions to the N series are products IBM re-brands and resells through an OEM partnership with Network Appliance. The N7700 and N7900 are the equivalent of NetApp's FAS6040 and FAS6080 systems, respectively.

Available on April 18, the N7700 and N7900 are priced from $125,000 and $190,000, respectively.

Further enhancements to the N series include new configurations for small to medium-sized businesses. The N3300 and N3600 now support SATA or SAS drives. The maximum capacity of the N3300 has been increased to 68TB, and the N3600 to 104TB.

IBM also announced capacity increases on other N series systems, including the N5300, (336TB), N5600 (504TB), N7600 (840TB), and N7800 (1,008TB).

NetApp's SnapManager for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server software is now available on all N series systems as well.

Next-gen directors
The second area in which IBM has added to its product portfolio is data-center networking. Big Blue announced it will resell Brocade's DCX Backbone switch (see Brocade delivers on data-center strategy). Branded as the IBM System Storage SAN768B, the switch supports 8Gbps Fibre Channel, interoperability between b-type (Brocade) and m-type (McData) directors in 8Gbps and 10Gbps Fibre Channel SAN infrastructure, and scales up to 768 ports across two domains. Entry price is $390,000

Data archiving/retention
In the data archiving space, IBM introduced two new configurations of its System Storage DR550 v4.5 archiving platform. The DR550, which uses IBM's System Storage Archive Manager (SSAM) software for policy-based information retention, automatically and transparently moves archived data between storage tiers.

Users can now choose from two models—the DR550 DR1 or DR2. The DR1 is a 25U rack for medium-sized businesses while the 36U DR2 is designed for large enterprises and offers single-node or dual-node configurations for higher availability and scalability.

The DR550 DR1 and DR550 DR2 are priced from $26,000 and $73,000, respectively.

Half-height LTO
On the tape front, IBM introduced the System Storage TS3100 and TS3200 tape libraries, which are based on half-height LTO-4 drives with built-in encryption for security. Users can encrypt and manage data with IBM's Encryption Key Manager without the need for additional appliances. The TS3100 and TS3200 will be available next month at a starting price of $8,300.

Rounding out IBM's storage announcements is the NEBS-compliant DS3300 model 32T disk subsystem, which has redundant components. This subsystem is designed primarily for the telecommunications market, which has unique hardware, power, and cooling requirements.

New features enable telecommunications service providers to deliver everything from basic voice telephony to Internet Protocol television (IPTV), video-on-demand (VoD), IP multimedia subsystems (IMS), and security from one platform.

The DS3300 integrates into existing IP networks with no distance limitations through iSCSI connectivity. The system has redundant DC power supplies and 12 drive bays, and scales via as many as three EXP3000 capacity expansion units —each with up to 48 SAS and/or SATA drives. The DS3300 is priced from $9,495.