IBM delivers ATA NAS

By Lisa Coleman

This week, IBM announced that it will ship within the next month its first network-attached storage (NAS) device to take advantage of ATA disk drives. Increasingly more NAS servers are being outfitted with ATA drives to cut costs while moving the devices into the midrange and high-end markets.

The TotalStorage NAS 100, the newest member of IBM's NAS product line based on Windows, is a 1U device with four ATA drives offering 480GB. Features include hot-swappable drives and the same management software that other TotalStorage NAS servers offer. These features differentiate the appliance from its competitors--specifically, Compaq and Dell, according to David Vaughn, product manager for storage networking at IBM.

The NAS 100 will be available on August 8 at a starting price of $4,420.

IBM's Director 3.1 Agent software for centralized management adds functionality that IBM's competitors lack, claims Vaughn. The software, which is also used in IBM's higher-end NAS 200, 300, and 300G devices, 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 hot-swappable ATA drives to add an extra level of reliability that some of its competitors lack. "We built in some reliability features that you don't generally find in this [price] class of products," claims Vaughn. "The idea was to provide an ATA price point, but with some enterprise-class reliability features."

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 SNMP and CIM 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 devices 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 servers include Compaq, Dell, FIA Storage Systems, Maxtor, Network Appliance, and Quantum.

This article was originally published on July 10, 2002