IBM Opens Door With NAS Products

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2001-06-18

Four months after launching its storage networking initiative, IBM last week unveiled a number of NAS products aimed at helping businesses link information and speed up access to the data.

The network-attached storage appliances target—both in performance and price—a wide range of customers, from service providers to small businesses to larger companies with branch offices or departments.

The offerings range from the TotalStorage NAS 200, which can come in rack or tower configurations, depending on the capacity needed, to the TotalStorage NAS 300 and 300G, which further increase capacity while adding such features as duel engines and redundant, hot-swap power supplies to bolster reliability, as well as LAN-to-SAN (storage area network) bridges.

The products, slated to be available next week and in July, will range in price from $14,000 to $115,000.

The announcement follows the Armonk, N.Y., companys rollout in February of its storage networking initiative, which features the NAS Gateway and iSCSI product lines.

One analyst said he believes IBM is well-positioned to make a move in the NAS arena, which typically involves smaller companies and groups rather than the Global 2000 customers IBM typically covets.

"They really have a global organization," said Wagner Rios, an analyst with AMR Research Inc., in Boston. "Many of the companies that are generating the most growth in storage needs are of a global nature."

The top vendor in the NAS market has been Network Appliance Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif. But now others, including IBM, are looking to muscle in on the opportunities. "There is a really healthy competition going on right now," Rios said. "The end user is in a very good position. There are plenty of choices."

Most of the products are solid, Rios said, so the differentiators will be such things as services, return on investment and interoperability.

IBM last week also said it has enhanced its tape storage products and is now reselling and servicing a 128-port switch, the Inrange FC/9000-128 Fibre Channel Director.

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