IBM to unveil network-attached storage arrays

IBM is expected to announce next week the first of its re-branded network-attached storage appliances.

At an event in New York, the company is expected to announce the IBM TotalStorage N3700 NAS system, the result of a deal IBM signed with Network Appliance in April to resell and re-brand all the company's products except NetCache and the FAS250 appliance.

IBM's Total Storage N3700 will be based on the Network Appliance FAS270 Series file server -- a midrange system that scales up to 8T bytes of capacity and has Gigabit Ethernet and Fibre Channel connections.

The N3700 will be the first of many NAS appliances IBM will introduce over the next year, sources say.

"IBM sees a lot of demand and opportunity at the lower end of the NAS market," says an analyst who asked not to be identified. "The news is that IBM really did do it, they really executed on their plans."

The company is expected to further build out its NAS family of appliances with the launch of a larger TotalStorage N5500 later this year, according to documents on IBM's Web site. The N5500 is also based on Network Appliance technology.

IBM is also expected to announce that it will double the cache to 8G bytes per controller on its TotalStorage DS4800 array and support 4G bit/sec Fibre Channel switching technology.

Rival EMC is expected next week to improve its Symmetrix DMX family of high-end storage arrays. The announcement of the new Symmetrix's will coincide with IBM's Storage Symposium 2005, which starts July 25 in New Orleans.

The IBM TotalStorage N3700 is expected to ship in August. Pricing has not been determined, sources say.

IBM declined to comment on announcement plans.

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