IBM Again Adds to Its SMB Storage Catalog

Big Blue and NetApp expand their OEM relationship by issuing new N series hardware and software packages for virtualization and data backup.

IBM on Nov. 16 filled a hole in its catalog of storage hardware and software for small and midsize businesses and extended its relationship with Network Appliance to continue providing new products for the same market.

The announcement involved a new midrange N series (for NetApp) storage system as well as expanded virtualization interoperability and database backup software.

In an effort to take on market leader EMC, IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., and NetApp, of Sunnyvale, Calif., announced last April that they would band together to create storage and information-on-demand solutions that combine the two companies technologies.

To do so, IBM is now selling branded storage systems based on NetApps unified and open NAS (network-attached storage) and iSCSI/IP SAN products, including NearStore and NetApp V-Series systems.

NetApp applications are now more integrated with IBM Tivoli Storage Manager, which is the preferred backup and recovery solution for NetApp products. In return, NetApp uses IBMs tape systems in its storage packages.

"Basically, its very simple what IBM is now offering SMBs," John Foley, IBMs manager of the IBM-NetApp product line, told eWEEK.

"We have three [storage] system products, each in the small, medium and large size—meaning small, medium and large in capacity and I/O capability. However, they all have the same 41 software features across the board, plus some optional features."

Standard software included in the 41 are usability modules for Microsoft Exhange Server, SQL Server, or Oracle, among others. Options include Fibre Channel or SATA connectivity, clustering, and others.

The newest SMB-oriented system, IBMs System Storage N5600 appliance, fills a hole in the medium-size N series lineup. The new device offers an easy migration path to the IBMs enterprise-class offerings, Foley said, and scales up to 252TB.

Two models are available: The N5600 A10 is a single storage controller offering, while the N5600 A20 comes with dual storage controllers, Foley said.

The N5600 will be positioned between IBMs N5500 and N7600 appliances and offer simultaneous connectivity to 4G bps Fibre Channel and high speed GbE iSCSI networks and features a 64-bit architecture and PCIe controllers, which allow for easy, seamless updates.

Because the N5600 uses the same disk drives, expansion units and advanced software features as the other N series products, upgrades to enterprise-level systems are seamless, Foley said.

The N5600 increases the performance of the N5500, with 50 percent more spindles and capacity as well as twice the memory and three times the bandwidth.

IBM also announced new interoperability between N series gateways and IBMs SVC (SAN Volume Controller), which ensures that users can attach N series gateways to their SVC storage pool, enabling heterogeneous file sharing and block-level virtualization.

At the file level, the N series gateways offer an IP portal that enables them to connect to a Fibre Channel attached storage subsystem.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read about IBM and NetApps new storage bridge.

IBMs SVC provides block level virtualization, enabling centralized management of managed storage resources and non-disruptive migration. This heterogeneous mix allows SAN storage access through a single IP portal without the high cost of Fibre Channel host bus adapters and port attachment fees, Foley said.

Finally, Big Blue introduced SnapManager for Oracle, which automates and simplifies the complex manual and time-consuming processes associated with the backup, restore, recovery and cloning of Oracle databases.

It provides the ability to create, use and clone a database for use by test and development teams while maintaining a high level of availability to users.

SnapManager automatically identifies the backup data set and puts the database in hot backup mode while a snapshot copy is created to ensure consistency.

This allows database administrators to easily and efficiently perform database backup, restore and recovery and clone operations while minimizing the risk of data loss.

Pricing and availability

The IBM System Storage N5600 and SnapManager for Oracle will be generally available on Dec. 8. The N5600 will be offered at a starting price of $97,500, while SnapManager for Oracle will be offered at $3,125 per managed host.

Interoperability between N series gateway devices and IBMs SVC will be generally available on Dec. 8.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...