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IBM Delivers "Pizza Box" Storage to Mid-Market

IBM Wednesday announced hardware and software to help medium-sized businesses easily and effectively cope with their storage needs.

At the center of IBM's new offerings is the new TotalStorage Network Attached Storage 100 (NAS 100), a thin appliance referred to as a "pizza box," which will be available next month. According to the company, the NAS 100 will allow mid-sized businesses to manage their storage needs without a big IT staff. It joins IBM's NAS 200 and NAS 300 offerings.

"Our commitment to introducing the best technology available to customers of all sizes is proven again with this latest introduction of the NAS 100," said Walter Raizner, IBM's general manager of storage products, in a statement.

The NAS 100 includes software developed out of IBM's Project eLiza which began in October 2001. Project eLiza strives to create a nervous system capable of automatically regulating IT functions. The NAS 100 will be capable of managing and healing itself, and in the process, IBM claimed, save companies money and time from managing and troubleshooting the system.

"Most of the growth occurring in the storage market is not the real large enterprise; it's the small-to medium-sized enterprises that are spending more on storage these days," said Dianne McAdam, an analyst with IT consultancy Illuminata. "It's a smaller solution that may allow them to take their product into the smaller marketplace."

In the mid-market, IBM's NAS offerings compete with NAS products from Dell and Network Appliance. With an aggressive push into the storage market over the last few years, IBM settled into the No. 3 position in 2001, trailing EMC and Veritas Software, according to research by Gartner Dataquest.

IBM said companies would be able to use the NAS 100 for such tasks as e-mail archiving, server consolidation, storage backup, and archiving documents. With a $4,420 price tag and a half hour installation time, IBM is taking clear aim at medium-sized businesses or branch locations of larger companies.

The NAS 100 runs on Windows and can hold up to 480Gb of data. The system can be managed by a variety of storage-management software, including IBM Director and Tivoli Storage Manager.

Its self-healing features include hot-swappable hard disk drives for replacing drives without interruption; automatic monitoring of fans and processors; and automatic operating system and local area network fail-over capabilities.

In addition to the NAS 100, IBM unveiled a new 2Gb solution and 2Gb fibre-channel disk drives for its FAStT storage expansion unit, allowing 40 percent more capacity with the FAStT EXP700. IBM said the new disk drives would help medium-sized businesses by improving the performance of large database applications.