IBM unveils midrange NAS arrays

IBM this week brought out a line of midrange storage arrays that offer network-attached storage capabilities and can transfer data via Fibre Channel and the IP-based Internet SCSI protocol.

The new IBM System Storage N5000 series is aimed at remote offices or enterprises with distributed environments. The systems can be configured for disk-to-disk backup or archiving with write-once, read-many capabilities.

The new systems are manufactured by Network Appliance as the FAS3020 and FAS3050 systems and are resold by IBM under an agreement signed in April. In September, IBM introduced the 3700 NAS array, a rebranded NetApp FAS270 file server.

NetApp user Steve Rolph, a storage and recovery expert at Sprint Nextel said he believes IBM's relationship with NetApp could help him take advantage of its larger service organization, which can work with an entire infrastructure rather than just a single array. "Any new [NAS] purchases will be done through IBM," he said.

Moving to HP

On the other hand, Brad Slaven, a systems administrator at Northwest Natural Gas said he won't be swayed by the IBM logo on the iSCSI systems. He said his company will likely turn to rival Hewlett-Packard for the technology over the next few years because HP offers better low-end pricing.

Dave Reine, an analyst at The Clipper Group predicted that IBM's service offerings will boost sales of the NetApp technology.

The new IBM System Storage N5200 and N5500 products will be available Dec. 9 in single and dual storage controller models. The N5200 will be priced from US$60,000 and the N5500 from US$85,000.

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