IBM, NetApp Debut New Storage Bridge

IBM, in partnership with Network Appliance, continues to aim for the SMB storage market with three new products, including the portal-like N5000 Gateway.

IBM continued its steady movement into the SMB storage market and at the same time extended its year partnership with Network Appliance by introducing three new products May 31, including the IBM System Storage N5000 Gateway, which is a NAS gateway specifically for NetApp Fibre Channel-based storage subsystems.

The new gateway, which is really a customized Web portal, acts as a kind of storage bridge/controller between SANs (storage area networks) and NAS (network-attached storage) environments.

Through its central GUI, it aims to give businesses more widespread access to their data as well as providing disaster recovery capabilities, the company said.

The gateway is a separate IP attachment white box that unifies NAS, SAN and iSCSI under a common architecture.

Clients can utilize a single N series Gateway to access Unix, Linux and Windows file protocols at the same time, in addition to iSCSI block protocols, and extend the reach of SAN and NAS storage to other Fibre Channel-based subsystems. iSCSI protocols allow blade servers to be booted using a remote operating system, to allow for more centralized control by an IT manager.

"Basically, the idea of combining all the control for IP-based storage makes a lot of financial sense," said John Foley, worldwide marketing manager for the IBM/NetApp Alliance, in Armonk, N.Y. "For example, each blade server needs storage, and to connect it to your storage apparatus, you need to purchase a Fibre Channel adapter for about $1,500 and a new switch for about the same cost. Thats a $3,000 connection fee—for one server."

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read more about the IBM System Storage N5000 series.

Imagine what it would cost to hook up racks of blades to a Fibre Channel storage network, Foley said.

"The gateway portal makes all these server-to-storage connections—no matter what systems are being used—centralized and transparent to the user," Foley said.

The N series Gateways, which start at about $34,000, are now available in two models, N5200 and N5500, with redundant components, 8-Gigabit Ethernet and Fibre Channel, and more than 30 advanced software features and functions.

The various models can scale from 50 terabytes to 84TB and can support numerous other storage subsystems, including IBM System Storage DS4800 and DS8000 series systems, as well as non-IBM storage products.

/zimages/1/28571.gifRead details here about IBMs storage virtualization offerings.

The other SMB (small and midsize business) storage products IBM introduced May 31 were:

Nearline Storage Solution—These are new upgrades to IBMs Nearline Storage Solutions package, including enhanced back-up capabilities and capacity with 500GB SATA (Serial ATA) Disk Drives for all N series appliances. Nearline Storage is designed for customers who need fast-access online disk solutions with features including data protection capabilities, remote disaster recovery and online archival.

DataFabric Manager—DataFabric Manager is the latest software function added to the N series, offering system management, alerting and monitoring tools. Providing a central point of control, these tools help manage storage and content delivery infrastructure, and include options to also license software features specifically for business continuity and storage resource management.

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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...