IBM upgrades NAS

IBM Corp. on Tuesday issued upgrades to some of its existing NAS (network attached storage) products and rolled out four bundled NAS hardware and software solutions for midsize businesses.

In an effort to give midsize businesses more NAS storage overhead, Big Blue raised the ceiling on the amount of storage customers can pack into the company’s NAS 200 storage server, said David Vaughn, the product manager for storage networking at IBM, based in Armonk, N.Y.

The NAS 200 now scales to 1.7TB, significantly more capacity than the system’s previous 440GB capacity. Current users of the NAS 200 can upgrade their systems to the new capacity via an expansion rack that adds 14 external disk drives and approximately 1.2TB of storage, Vaughn said.

“A big focus for us is that scalability on the low end, so you can buy the product today and it will grow with you in the future,” Vaughn said.

Upgrades to IBM’s NAS 300 and NAS 300G products were also announced Tuesday.

IBM’s NAS 300 now offers the options of single phase power, a two-port Fibre Channel adapter for added fail-over protection, and support for 10/100/1000 Megabit Copper Ethernet, according to IBM. The NAS 300G now has expanded compatibility to other IBM storage products such as the TotalStorage Fast-T 700 Storage Server as well as added support for 10/100/1000 Megabit Copper Ethernet.

Additionally, IBM on Tuesday announced that its Unix customers will begin to experience as much as a 67 percent increase in the performance of IBM’s TotalStorage NAS products, thanks to a combination of hardware and software technologies, Vaughn said.

Enhancements to IBM’s Storage Manager SAK 2.0 software brings added manageability features such as file-level viewing to IBM NAS customers.

Of file-level viewing, Vaughn said, “We hear from a lot of administrators that they are allocating disk space to users and to applications, but they don’t really know how that disk space is being used. [File-level viewing] allows you to set quotas for users and applications so they can’t use more than a certain amount of storage. It will allow you to filter certain kinds of files that you don’t want stored on your box, and it will print out reports by user and application so you can see what kind of files are being stored and used.”

A new version of IBM Director 3.1 was also delivered Tuesday. Part of IBM’s eLiza “self-healing” systems technology, Director 3.1 assists users in heading off potential problems before they occur. Features available on 3.1 can also allow users to set system schedules, such as re-booting times, to happen during off-hours automatically.

IBM has been making headway into the NAS market during the last year, reaping approximately $30 million in NAS revenues during 2001, said Roger Cox, a chief storage analyst at Gartner Inc., in Stamford, Conn. Tuesday’s NAS upgrades from Big Blue are an effort to expand customer choices in the IBM NAS portfolio.

“What IBM is doing is just rounding out their NAS product line to be more competitive in the market place,” Cox said.

IBM competes against several major vendors in the NAS market including EMC Corp., Network Appliance Inc., and Hewlett-Packard Co.

Four bundled hardware and software solutions were announced Tuesday to provide custom, simplified, and pre-tested configurations targeted at specific business needs, said Mike Halloran, the brand manager for IBM’s storage systems group.

Video Security Solutions, Digital Content Creation, Storage Health Assessment, and Life Sciences Solutions are each addressed in the bundled offerings, Halloran said.

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