IBM Improves NAS Performance

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Focusing on the medium-sized business segment, IBM today announced software and hardware enhancements to its TotalStorage Network Attached Storage (NAS) products, as well as a variety of new solutions, including several for the digital media industry.

The new software and hardware improvements for the IBM TotalStorage NAS products can help increase NFS throughput performance by as much as 67 percent for UNIX applications, and boost the maximum raw disk capacity of the TotalStorage NAS 200 by nearly four times. In addition, IBM’s NAS products also feature new self-healing and self-managing technologies that can help improve the way customers manage their NAS.

“Medium-sized companies often face a greater challenge in managing their information assets because they often don’t have the expertise or the resources to devote to managing an IT infrastructure,” said David Vaughn, product manager for storage networking, IBM Storage Systems Group. “Today, IBM is delivering improved products and solutions, in conjunction with our IBM Business Partners, to help enable these customers to focus on their core competencies and less on the management of technology.”

Faster, more scalable NAS
By improving NFS performance, NFS data throughput for customers running UNIX applications on IBM NAS products can be increased by up to 67 percent. Additionally, the maximum optional raw disk capacity of IBM’s NAS 200 tower has been increased by nearly four times with the addition of support for the IBM ServeRAID 4Mx adapter. The adapter allows up to one terabyte of additional raw disk capacity via connection to an external storage unit, while the three drive inserts of the NAS 200 provide up to an additional 220 gigabytes of raw capacity. These scalability enhancements help protect the investment made by medium-sized customers, who are often concerned about outgrowing their storage capacity too quickly.

Another important enhancement to the product line is the addition of new interoperability support for new tape drives and libraries, helping to create more choices for backup and archiving.

Connectivity and interoperability enhancements include:

— NAS 300 — option for use of single phase power to provide more flexibility for installations where three-phase power is not available; addition of a 2 port fibre channel adapter to provide multi-path failover support in case of a hub failure; support for 10/100/1000 Megabit Copper Ethernet adapter providing simpler installation in some situations versus fiber optic Gigabit adapters.

— NAS 300G — interoperability support between the two engine version of the NAS 300G and the TotalStorage FAStT700 Storage Server; support for 10 /100/1000 Megabit Copper Ethernet.

Self-managing, self-healing NAS
IBM has also incorporated several key software upgrades into its NAS product line to improve systems management through the use of smart technology. IBM’s NAS family stands apart from similar products by Compaq/HP and Dell with unique technologies, like the latest version of IBM Director Agent 3.1.

Introduced as part of IBM’s Project eLiza initiative to create intelligent IT systems capable of managing, protecting and healing themselves automatically, new technology embedded into IBM Director 3.1 can help predict when problems may occur and has the ability to automatically call another computer for help or even order necessary parts.

Another automated eLiza feature of IBM Director is the ability to predict bottlenecks — such as excessive processor or memory consumption — that can lead to poor performance or even unplanned downtime. This self-optimizing technology can alert the customer in advance of the bottleneck, make recommendations to avoid it, and provide a response when the alert is received.

Storage Manager for SAK 2.0 supports customers’ ability to the reduce the cost of storing information by automatically monitoring how much storage capacity each person uses and the type of files they can store. For example, an administrator can set a policy to not allow MP3 files to be saved, or to automatically notify users who exceed their allotted storage capacity and ask them to eliminate unnecessary files.

Solution Offerings Targeted to Specific Industries
IBM views its IBM Business Partners as a key component of its ability to service the needs of medium-sized businesses and target industries. With over 50 percent of IBM’s storage business generated by its reseller channels, IBM has developed several pre-packaged solutions to further support its ability and its reseller’s ability to service these key segments and high growth areas.

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