IBM moves uptown with NAS gateway

IBM Corp.’s customers think big when it comes to network-attached storage (NAS), so the company is scaling up with its latest NAS gateway, which can support at least 224TB of storage, IBM said Tuesday.

The IBM TotalStorage NAS Gateway 500, based on IBM’s own Power4 processors running the AIX operating system, is a step up from the current Windows-based NAS Gateway 300, which will be discontinued in March, according to product manager David Vaughn.

“The customers have been asking us for a more enterprise-class product,” Vaughn said. The Gateway 500 fits the bill with higher performance, greater storage support and high-availability features, he said. It is designed for mid-sized as well as large enterprises. IBM already has discontinued its TotalStorage NAS 100 and NAS 200 storage appliances because customers were demanding enterprise core platforms more than those products, which were best suited to branch offices, he said.

IBM’s NAS gateways let enterprises link their servers and client systems with multiple storage devices and storage area networks (SANs) through a single platform. That means the organization can better take advantage of its existing storage resources while lowering support costs, according to the company.

Through IBM TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller software, the NAS Gateway 500 can support three models of Hewlett-Packard Co. storage equipment and one model of Hitachi Ltd. gear in addition to IBM storage products, and that list will grow over time, Vaughn said. The gateway can be managed through IBM Tivoli Storage Manager, Tivoli Storage Resource Manager and Tivoli SAN Manager.

Along with its support for more total storage — up from 22TB in the Gateway 300 — the new generation works six times as fast on Network File System (NFS), used with Unix and Linux, and 50 per cent faster on the Windows Common Internet File System (CIFS), according to Vaughn. The gateway comes standard with two 1.45GHz Power4 processors and can be expanded to four.

The gateway has six PCI slots, each of which can be used for two interfaces. Customers can mix and match between 1Gbps or 2Gbps Fibre Channel storage network interfaces and gigabit Ethernet LAN interfaces, Vaughn said. The system is built to support future 10-gigabit Ethernet ports, but those probably will not be available this year, he added.

The NAS Gateway 500 will be generally available through Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM and its business partners in February, priced from US$60,000.

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