IBM To Resell NetApp NAS Gateways


IBM also disclosed plans for rebranding other products from Sunnyvale, Calif.-based NetApp, including the timing for NetApp's new FAS6000 family of enterprise-class arrays and its new StoreVault small-business arrays, which NetApp introduced two weeks ago.

Under an agreement the two vendors signed more than a year ago, IBM is rebranding nearly the entire line of NetApp SAN and NAS appliances and software for its direct and indirect sales channels.

New to the IBM line is the IBM System Storage N5000 Series NAS gateways. NAS gateways serve data in a file format in the same fashion as NAS appliances do but don't have their own storage capacity. Instead, they store the data on other storage devices connected to a SAN.

John Foley, IBM's worldwide product marketing manager for the IBM-NetApp alliance, said Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM will rebrand NetApp's V3020 as the N5200 and the V3050 as the N5500.

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Both models support Fibre Channel SAN, IP SAN and NAS connectivity, and include redundant, hot-swappable components. They can be configured with Fibre Channel or SATA drives or a mix of both. The N5200 offers a raw capacity of up to 58 Tbytes, while the N5500 can be configured for up to 80 Tbytes.

IBM's own line of NAS gateways was eliminated in February, Foley said.

The new NAS gateways are aimed at customers that have Fibre Channel SANs and are looking to take advantage of those SANs to serve data over IP networks, Foley said.

NAS gateways are a cost-effective alternative to Fibre Channel SANs, especially when lower-cost servers are used, Foley said. "Small servers cost about $2,000," he said. "To attach one to a Fibre Channel SAN, you need to spend about $1,500 for a Fibre Channel host-bus adapter, plus about $1,500 for a Fibre Channel port. That equals a $3,000 connection fee for a $2,000 server. That's not very cost-effective."

Also new from IBM is 500-Gbyte SATA hard drives for IBM's line of rebranded NetApp NAS appliances. With the larger-capacity drives, IBM's N3700 now can be configured for up to 16 Tbytes, compared with 84 Tbytes for the N5200 and 160 Tbytes for the N5500. Those appliances are also sold by NetApp as the FAS270, FAS3020 and FAS3050, said Foley.

IBM is also reselling NetApp's Data Fabric Manager software, which collects and reports on both IBM N-series and NetApp appliances. The best part of the software, which has the same name as the NetApp version, is the fact that it works seamlessly with storage appliances from both vendors, Foley said.

"If a customer already has NetApp Data Fabric Manager installed, it will also manage IBM N-series boxes," he said. "And vice versa. If a customer has N-series appliance and asks if he can replicate to a NetApp box, you can say yes."

Going forward, according to the IBM/NetApp agreement, IBM will resell all NetApp products already in the NetApp pipeline at the time it was signed, with the IBM version coming 60 days to 90 days after NetApp announces a new product, Foley said.

Assuming NetApp follows that pattern, IBM solution providers can expect to get theFAS6000, in the second half of this year, Foley said. However, IBM is still evaluating NetApp's StoreVault small-business array, which NetApp plans to release next month at a starting price of about $5,000, Foley said. Foley said he expects to to NetApp's headquarters to see how the new appliance works, after having seen how it works on paper.