IBM Fits NAS Gateway with POWER Chips

Emboldened by demand for a stronger network-attached storage gateway, IBM on Tuesday introduced a new storage product to zip files across IT networks.

NAS devices are file servers, and vendors such as EMC , Network Appliance , and IBM specialize in them. Although the proliferation of more comprehensive storage area network (SAN) systems has significantly impacted the NAS market, many companies still employ NAS boxes.

To fill the gap between NAS boxes and SANs, IBM and others have rolled out NAS “gateways,” which, as IBM NAS product manager David Vaughn explains, is essentially a box without storage in it. Instead, storage is added, whether it be via NAS or a SAN, to help customers accommodate the architecture in their data centers.

The gateway connects various data sources into one access point, without spreading out into the dreaded remote islands of storage that customers are trying to steer clear of.

The new IBM TotalStorage NAS Gateway 500 system is a big step up from the Armonk, N.Y.-based company’s previous NAS Gateway 300 product, Vaughn told

While that product relied on Intel chips, the 500 is the first system based on POWER 4 chips and is 150 percent faster than its predecessor. Vaughn claims the NAS Gateway 500 is also 30 percent faster than competing products in comparable configurations, including EMC’s Celerra machines and NetApp’s G-filers or 940, 960, or 980 boxes.

This is in part because of the chip architecture, which Vaughn says is unique in that it can be configured in a single, two-processor node, or a two-node cluster of four processors for extra power to drive such enterprise characteristics as active clustering and remote mirroring.

Customers have demanded an enterprise-class grade gateway from IBM to deal with heavy lifting applications and large numbers of files, as well as products from other vendors. To that end, the NAS Gateway 500 enables storage from disparate vendors such as HP and Hitachi to work seamlessly when combined with IBM’s SAN Volume Controller software.

“We position our NAS strategy as a complement to a customer’s investment and try to offer customers a total solution as opposed to a point product,” Vaughn says.

The 500 also features memory chip fail-over, which, according to Vaughn, means that if one processor in a four-processor cluster fails, the gateway and system manage to operate “very gracefully” with just three processors.

NAS Gateway 500 is optimized for POWER 4 on IBM’s own AIX operating system, but also supports UNIX, Linux, and Windows environments. It is geared to provide file serving for IBM eServers, IBM TotalStorage Enterprise Storage Server, and IBM TotalStorage FAStT products.

With a starting price of $60,000, IBM TotalStorage NAS Gateway 500 will become generally available through IBM on Feb. 6.

Story courtesy of

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Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor and a senior writer for covering IT leadership, the CIO role, and digital transformation.

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