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Big Blue Bridges Storage Gaps

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IBM again leveraged its pact with Network Appliance, introducing new storage appliances that act as bridges between SAN and NAS systems.
IBM is using its NetApp partnership to craft an appliance that bridges
the SAN-NAS storage gap.

Designed for small- and midsize 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 outage. The machines, essentially IP  attachments to Fibre Channel  storage subsystems, unify NAS, SAN,  and iSCSI protocols under one architecture.

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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