IBM plans low-cost storage appliance

Aiming at medium-sized businesses looking for some relatively low-cost hardware in which to store their data, IBM in August plans to start shipping a networked storage appliance that offers close to half a terabyte of storage, the company said Wednesday.

The NAS 100 will fit into the low end of IBM's network attached storage (NAS) line and will ship with four 120G-byte ATA (Advanced Technology Attachment) drives and dual Gigabit Ethernet ports. It will be the first NAS product from IBM to support the relatively low-cost ATA drive type, and is due to go on sale August 8 priced at US$$4,420, said David Vaughn, product manager for storage networking at IBM.

The NAS 100 is aimed at medium-sized businesses that want a basic storage appliance requiring minimal set-up time and maintenance. It comes with tools that look out for potential failures in components, such as the power supply or memory, and the four drives included are hot-swappable. Such features can help make storage management easier at a company's branch office, for example, where IT personnel may be limited, Vaughn said.

"This is for a mid-market customer that needs about half a terabyte of storage that will provide for its needs for a long time," Vaughn said.

NAS products are designed to plug into companies' existing Ethernet networks and are generally less expensive and easier to manage than larger systems that go into a storage area network (SAN).

IBM's higher end NAS 200 and NAS 300 products support SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) and Fibre Channel, respectively, making them higher performing and higher-priced than the NAS 100.

IBM's pits its NAS products up against systems from Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Computer Corp.

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