IBM Unveils Clustered NAS Storage

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IBM (NYSE: IBM) today unveiled its entry in the growing market for clustered network-attached storage (NAS) systems.

IBM said its new Scale Out Network Attached Storage (SONAS) offering can scale both capacity and performance while providing parallel access to data and a global name space that can manage billions of files and up to 14.4 petabytes of capacity.

The new offering is a hardware-based expansion of Big Blue's Scale Out File Services and is based on IBM's General Parallel File System (GPFS).

The Samba-based systems include management nodes, switches, interface nodes, data storage nodes, RAID controllers and expansion units, and offer snapshot capabilities, tiered storage and HSM through Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM).

The NAS systems include Gigabit Ethernet, 10Gigabit Ethernet and 20Gbps InfiniBand connections, and users can combine up to 30 interface nodes and 30 240-drive storage pods to reach 7.2PB with 1TB drives and 14.4PB with 2TB drives, which will be coming in April, a month after general availability.

ILM and storage management capabilities include file protection policies at creation, migration and deletion policies, and replication, backup and archiving features. IBM also claims ease of installation, monitoring and management for the NAS systems.

IBM is currently testing applications with SONAS, including Symantec and IBM Tivoli backup, VMware ESX and Oracle RAC.

IBM said the systems address "one of the key promises of cloud computing, which is to provide access to information anywhere at any time."

Todd Neville, IBM's project executive for SONAS, declined to name the back-end storage provider for the systems, but the new offering could be viewed as something of a setback for IBM NAS partner NetApp (NASDAQ: NTAP), as the clustered NAS product is based on IBM-developed technology.

Others with recent moves in clustered NAS storage include HP's (NYSE: HPQ) acquisition of Ibrix, the merger of LSI and ONStor, the release of NetApp's Data ONTAP 8.0, the ongoing BlueArc-HDS partnership, Isilon, and just recently, Dell's (NASDAQ: DELL) offer to acquire Exanet.

IBM says SONAS pricing starts roughly around IDC price bands 9 and 10, or about $250,000 to $500,000.

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