For small businesses that need a disaster recovery plan, only without the hefty price tag, choices
can be skimpy. IBM
is out to change that with a scaled-down version of its network-attached
storage (NAS) system.
Big Blue said it plans to offer TotalStorage NAS Gateway 500 with one-way processor configuration in
order to provide a low-cost entry for customers in NAS
requirements. The starting price on the systems works out to be about 40 percent less than the usual $60,000
price tag, an IBM official said.
The SMB version comes about half a year after IBM introduced its NAS gateway system, a clustered engine
configuration with up to eight POWER4+ microprocessors. Now, the system is scaling down for smaller businesses
that can’t afford the cost associated with providing a hot backup of every aspect of its network.
The TotalStorage NAS Gateway 500 configuration currently uses a single POWER4+-based microprocessor, as
well as provides for a rollover in case of an outage of its current network. David Vaughn, IBM’s worldwide
product manager for NAS, said the SMB configuration lets customers start with a single processor version
of the NAS Gateway 500 and, depending on their growth needs, later scale up to two, four or eight processors.
The one-processor version also offers all the same features without impacting the customer’s footprint:
processor, memory, adapters Ethernet and Fibre Channel, redundancy with engine clustering and operating
system mirroring, and data mirroring over both IP and SAN networks.
“The new offering also includes new support for three modes of mirroring over IP networks,” Vaughn added,
such as asynchronous, synchronous mode and Mirror Write Consistency (MWC).
For example, Vaughn continued, MWC works by writing data to the local disk at the same time it is sent
across to the remote site. “The write is not complete until the remote site acknowledges that the write is
complete, which is considered a faster mode than synchronous and more data-reliable than asynchronous,” Vaughn said.
The company said the TotalStorage NAS Gateway 500 offers the same features as the four-way processors:
tightly integrated hardware and software that links storage area networks with the users who need access to that data over
The idea with the gateway is to provide fast and reliable access while maximizing the use of customers’
current storage hardware arrays. Officials said the idea is to help customers reduce the islands of new
storage systems that can require greater levels of administration and support.
“If I’m a large enterprise, I want a two-processor model so that if one fails, I have a backup to go to,”
said Dianne McAdam, senior analyst and partner with research firm Data Mobility Group. “But if I’m an SMB, I
need something that’s a little more affordable. I could put [a one-processor system] in my main data center
and one in my remote office. It’s another way to provide disaster recovery for SMBs,” she added. “By putting
one in a remote office, that would allow me to ship files to the remote office and remotely replicate between
these two boxes.” Plus, she added, the system comes with software built in to help admins remotely manage the data.
IBM said the lower-cost, near-line storage system also provides enhanced support for Windows environments,
including Windows 2003. It features support for EtherChannel and IEEE 802.3ad Link Aggregation
in environments where two NAS Gateway 500s are clustered.
“The NAS Gateway can now be configured to place service calls over a TCP/IP connection or over an analog
phone line using a modem,” IBM’s Vaughn added.
Other enhanced features allow users to track, manage and
restore individual snapshot files.
The idea, IBM said, is to give smaller customers the best of both storage worlds by combining the performance
and availability of SANs