IBM Bolsters Networked Storage Capacity

Looking to significantly boost its networked storage systems and services, IBM Corp. will spend $400 million to add 1,000 salespeople, and offer new products and services that will cater to storage area network (SAN) customers.

The moves are aimed squarely at providing users with the infrastructure to build large-scale storage networks. IBM also hopes its plans will be a weapon to combat storage powerhouse EMC, which is the leader in the enterprise storage marketplace, anticipating revenue of $12 billion in 2001.

Specifically, IBM is beefing up the capacities of some of its existing storage products. For instance, the company announced improvements to its flagship Shark Enterprise Storage Server, adding 64-bit CPUs, up from 32-bit processors. That boosts cache to 16G bytes, up from 6G bytes.

Additionally, IBM's Tivoli subsidiary this week will announce SANergy, software to manage a so-called LAN-free storage network. SANergy will let Unix and Windows NT servers and clients share files with one another over a SAN - and not over the LAN. The feature saves LAN bandwidth by keeping traffic destined for storage on a SAN. SANergy will work with Tivoli's Storage Manager package.

IBM also said it would build 50 centers worldwide to develop and demonstrate storage systems. That goes in hand with IBM's Global Services division's move to create a wide-ranging consulting practice for SANs.

At least one analyst says IBM is headed in the right direction.

This is the first time IBM has fielded its Global Services division out in the SAN battlefield in force, and it could be a decisive move, says John Webster, an analyst at Illuminata. "EMC doesn't have a services organization like it," he says.

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