IBM to Sell NetApp Storage Gear

IBM moves to challenge EMC's dominance in the storage market with a deal to resell Network Appliance's network-attached storage products.

With storage rival EMC Corp. firmly in its line of fire, IBM on Wednesday announced that it will enter into an OEM deal with Network Appliance Inc. to resell the network-attached storage vendors entire product line.

As part of the strategic agreement, IBM will sell IBM-branded offerings based on Sunnyvale, Calif.-based NetApps NearStore, SAN (storage area network) products, as well as its storage virtualization-oriented V-Series systems and associated FlexVol and SnapLock software offerings.

In addition, NetApp plans to make IBMs tape products and IBM Tivoli Storage Manager the preferred backup and recovery and storage management choices for its customers tiered storage or ILM (information lifecycle management) needs, said Andy Monshaw, general manager of IBM Storage Systems for Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM.

However, Monshaw admitted that the decision to resell NetApps gear likely signals the eventual end for IBMs NAS product line, including the IBM TotalStorage NAS Gateway 500. Providing access to data stored on a SAN or stand-alone fiber channel device, the Gateway 500 features both NFS and CFIS support and supports nondisruptive capacity increases of up to 224 terabytes.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read more about IBMs ILM offerings.

"Well probably be withdrawing from that [NAS] market over a short period of time, when the market is right," said Monshaw, who did not offer further product phase-out details or time frames. "There will be some products we will select or deselect occasionally, but as the set of [NetApp] product families refresh in the second half of this year, well be picking those up."

Monshaw said a key factor behind the OEM partnership is to offer an alternative to storage customers that are unwilling to integrate different vendors solutions to fit their storage environments.

Toppling the strong market grip of storage hardware titan EMC is also a major consideration underscoring the new deal. "Make no mistake, EMC is clearly in our sites," Monshaw said.

/zimages/2/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on enterprise and small business storage hardware and software.