IBM Continues Move into Unified Storage

Big Blue also jumps into the deduplication pool by including partner NetApp's software, Advanced-Single Instance Storage.

IBM continued its strategic foray into the unified storage sector on May 22 by introducing a new set of products across a range of products, including virtualization, storage resource management and enterprise disk.

Unified storage enables the use of several types of storage connectivity, including iSCSI, Fibre Channel, NAS (network-attached storage) and SAN (storage area network), so that companies can use as much of their existing hardware as possible to save capital and service costs.

The new IBM System Storage N5300 enterprise-class storage unifies iSCSI, NAS file serving and Fibre Channel storage needs into a single hardware platform.

Big Blue also introduced a new deduplication feature, known as A-SIS (Advanced-Single Instance Storage) deduplication, courtesy of partner Network Appliance, which debuted last year.

Unlike other deduplication technologies, A-SIS deduplication functions with virtually no performance penalty, an IBM spokesperson said. Data is automatically scanned and redundant copies are eliminated, resulting in immediate space savings with minimal impact on operations.

Other forms of data deduplication, including those marketed by EMC Avamar, Data Domain, Quantum, Hewlett-Packard and others have slightly different approaches to compressing and weeding out unnecessary files or blocks of data at different points in the system stack.

But all are in high demand right now.

"IBM is covering many bases—SAN, NAS, storage virtualization, dedupe, and SRM [storage resource management] [with this announcement]," John Webster, principal with Illuminata in Nashua, N.H., told eWEEK.

"And theyre combining announcements on storage products they get from OEM sources with things that are homegrown. The announcements taken together show IBMs storage versatility as well as a willingness to go to OEM suppliers when they feel such a move is justified."

The N5300 is aimed at a range of environments, such as data centers in small, medium and large enterprises. It offers high-end application availability with recovery in minutes with snapshot copies, a comprehensive set of storage resiliency features, including RAID-DP (IBM N series implementation of RAID 6), and simple, robust disaster recovery capabilities, the spokesperson said.

/zimages/7/28571.gifClick here to read about the growing popularity of deduplication.

Key features of the N5300 include: scalability up to 252 drives and 126TB of capacity; storage tiering with support for both Fibre Channel and SATA (Serial ATA) disk drives; 64-bit controller architecture with high-bandwidth I/O design; and integrated Gigabit Ethernet and 4Gb Fibre Channel ports.

The N5300, like all IBM N series systems, offers a comprehensive suite of software, built-in enterprise serviceability and manageability features to support clients efforts to increase reliability.

IBM also announced two new Gateway models to the IBM System Storage N series family: the IBM System Storage N5300 Gateway and N5600 Gateways. The IBM System Storage N series Gateways are network-based solutions designed to provide heterogeneous access to Fibre Channel attached storage arrays.

The N5300, the N5300 Gateway, the N5600 Gateway, the EXN4000 Storage Expansion Unit, and A-SIS deduplication for all N5000 and N7000 appliance models will be available on June 8, the spokesperson said.

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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...