IBM Soups Up Storage Servers

For IBM’s  storage group, speed is king and the thing
that will differentiate its products from rivals like EMC and Hitachi Data

The systems vendor upgraded the processing speed of its high-end storage
arrays, introduced a new network-attached storage (NAS)
 line and enhanced its midrange storage systems.

The IBM System Storage DS8100 Turbo and DS8300 Turbo systems are based on
IBM’s Power5+ processors and boost transaction processing speeds more than
15 percent compared to their System Storage DS8000 predecessor, said Charlie
Andrews, director of product marketing for IBM System Storage.

The machines boast 4 gigabit per second Fibre Channel  and FICON  technology, doubling the speed of existing DS8000 systems and allowing customers to reduce the number
of channels to manage the arrays easier.

The IBM System Storage DS8000 Turbo, geared to compete with EMC’s  Symmetrix DMX-3 servers and HDS’  TagmaStore machines, feature broader tiered storage options,
which allow customers to move less used data to cheaper storage.

The first tier uses Fibre Channel drives to store frequently used data; the
second tier incorporates low-cost Fibre Channel ATA drives (FATA) and is
used to store seldom used data, Andrews said.

The systems also boast three-site business continuity software that provides
customers with constant access to data in the face of natural or synthetic
disasters. In the event of downtime, the software will provide quick updates
of data changes.

The software uses IBM Metro Mirror technology for synchronous copy up to 300
kilometers. Also, IBM’s Global Mirror for asynchronous copy provides three-
to five-second replication at virtually unlimited distances.

Andrews said IBM expects the new Turbo systems to give the EMC DMX-3 a stiff
challenge in the high-end array market.

Sales of storage machines have been picking up in recent quarters, as large
corporations look to upgrade or replace their systems with new technology in
the face of data growth and stringent corporate compliance regulations that
require reliable data backup.

Overall, EMC maintained
its lead in the external storage market with a 21.8 percent revenue share,
IDC said.

IBM had its strongest first quarter in years, with 14.8 percent
growth and a 12 percent share.

By adding new speeds and feeds, IBM and EMC hope to retain and add new

In a sign of how systems vendors are creating tighter synergies between
storage arrays and servers, the Turbo machines feature input/output
utilities and “cooperative caching,” which work with IBM AIX operating
system software and DB2 database to prioritize resources for important

The DS8000 Turbo will be ready on Sept. 9 starting at $213,400. The
server synergy features for the DS8000 Turbo will be available on Nov. 17.

IBM also refreshed its pact with partner Network Appliance today, agreeing
to resell the storage vendor’s high-end enterprise and gateway NAS systems
under the IBM brand.

The IBM System Storage N7600 and N7800 offer Fibre Channel and SATA
 disk drive support and provide simultaneous NAS,
iSCSI  and 4Gbps FC SAN (FCP) connectivity.

The machines store up to 504 terabytes  of data and
are available in single controller and clustered controller set-ups.

To provide customers with choices, the NAS servers will work with IBM,
Hitachi and HP storage subsystems, and will consolidate large amounts of IP
storage under one single point of management.

Highlights of the software that runs on the N7600 and N7800 include NetApp’s
FlexShare, which lets administrators increase processing utilization without
sacrificing performance, and MetroCluster, which extends cluster failover
capabilities from the primary to remote site and replicates data from the
primary site for the remote site.

The N series enterprise appliances will be available Sept. 1, starting
at $140,500; N series enterprise gateways will be available Sept. 22 for

The systems complete the reseller portfolio of NetApp systems for IBM; Big
Blue already resells
NetApp’s N5200 and N5500 midrange systems and the
low-end N3700.

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