had nothing to new to offer at Storage Networking World Fall 2001 last week, it made up for it Tuesday with the release of a number of storage products targeted for mid-market customers, including a new storage server that provides 2 Gbps Fibre Channel connectivity.
Also added to Big Blue's storage menu are network attached storage (NAS) and internet protocol (IP) storage products designed to bolster scalability and performance for enterprises. But the standout in Tuesday's news is IBM's new TotalStorage Fibre Array Storage Technology, or "FAStT700" Storage Server, a mid-range data storage system for IBM's eServer xSeries and other Intel-based servers. The FAStT700 can also support up to 16 terabytes of stored data and up to 64 server hosts.
What's significant about the FAStT700, is that it offers Fibre Channel connectivity that facilitates data transfer rates of up 2Gbps, where previous standards rested in the 1Gbps range. One analyst who was briefed on the new, faster server, commented on IBM's strategy, which he said was in line with an emerging trend in storage.
"IBM is aggressively pursuing midrange storage customers looking for end-to-end Fibre Channel connectivity with its FAStT700 offering," said John Webster, senior analyst at Illuminata Inc. "In fact, this announcement is in step with a movement in the industry to drive high-end data center storage attributes like FlashCopy and remote mirroring into the broader and more attractively priced midrange area."
Previously, IBM had been revealing the fruits of its labors for the high-end market, but Tuesday it vowed to pump an additional $100 million into the storage networking initiative it kickstarted last February.
"Data growth at the mid-market level is rising dramatically and customers are turning to storage networking to help manage, consolidate and share information," said Linda Sanford, senior vice president & group executive, IBM Storage Systems Group. "Today's news is about delivering open and interoperable solutions designed to enable universal access to data for customers of all sizes."
As for Big Blue's other storage offerings, there is the upgrade to the TotalStorage Network Attached Storage (NAS Models 200 and 300), which now provide more capacity and performance, as well as expanded Ethernet connectivity. The NAS 200 tower model delivers from 109.2GB to 440.4GB of storage and is geared for workgroups, small departments and remote environments. In a rack configuration, the NAS 200 provides from 109.2GB to 3.52TB of storage and is targeted at the retail, banking and insurance industries, where regional offices need to store data for file serving.
Decidedly more powerful, the IBM NAS 300 is tailored for serving large departments and small enterprises. The new and improved NAS 300 can scale from 109.2 GB to 6.61 TB of hard-disk storage to help customers meet storage needs.
Also in the mix is an improvement in the TotalStorage IP Storage 200i, which now provides up to double capacity of older models and faster performance with new 1.13 gigahertz (GHz) Pentium III processors.
IBM has topped off its midrange offerings Tuesday with operating system support to its IBM TotalStorage FAStT500 Storage Server, including IBM AIX, Unix and Linux. Lastly, the IBM TotalStorage Enterprise Storage Server, or "Shark" has been upgraded to provide customers the ability to intermix differing disk drive capacities.