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 Corp. 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 120GB 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 Aug. 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.