A Bridge Over Storage Gaps?

IBM again leveraged its pact with Network Appliance, introducing new storage
appliances that act as bridges between storage area network (SAN) and
network-attached storage (NAS) systems.

Designed for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMB), the IBM System
Storage N5200 and N5500 Series Gateways will help customers access their
data more easily and improve their ability to get up and running after an

The machines, essentially IP attachments to Fibre Channel
storage subsystems, unify NAS ,
SAN and iSCSI protocols under one

The N5200 and N5500 support Unix, Linux and Windows file protocols, IBM’s
System Storage DS4800 and DS8000 series systems and machines from other
vendors, IBM said in a statement.

For CIOs, and other administrators charged with striking a balance between
having enough technology without considerably raising costs, the appeal of
consolidating storage based on different protocols on one machine is clear.

The N5200 and N550 machines cut costs by requiring fewer machines to handle
the environments that use multiple storage approaches.

Storage systems also require some sort of governing software to guide the
complex data transfer from machine to machine.

To that end, the new IBM systems include NetApp’s DataFabric Manager, a
software tool that allows customers to manage storage and content delivery.

The utility also includes options to license software features specific for
business continuity and storage resource management, a hot segment that accounted for a third of the total storage software revenue in 2005.

The N5200 and N5500 N series Gateways include hot-swappable components, which
allow changes to be made to the systems without turning them off, as well as eight Gigabit Ethernet and Fibre Channel ports.

The machines scale from 50 to 84 terabytes and will
be available June 2 starting at $34,650.

IBM said the N5200 and N5500 mark the one-year anniversary of IBM’s alliance
with NetApp.

IBM abandoned making its own NAS machines last year and has been reselling
NAS, iSCSI, and IP SAN products from NetApp, fleshing out its
product lines to better compete with storage giant EMC.

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