IBM, NetApp Pact Bears More Fruit


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

Jim Monette, storage specialist at Evolving Solutions, a Hamel, Minn.-based solution provider that works with both IBM and NetApp, said IBM has come a long way in the NAS space since it dropped its own line of NAS appliances in favor of those from NetApp. “IBM’s NetApp pricing is good; it offers smooth installs and smooth transactions,” Monette said. “As long as they can keep it up, it’s a good thing.”

New to Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM’s line this month is the IBM System Storage N5000 Series NAS gateways. John Foley, IBM’s worldwide product marketing manager for the IBM-NetApp alliance, said the two new 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.

Monette said he expects the new NAS gateways to sell better from IBM than from NetApp. “NetApp had the gateways before, but didn’t push them because they disconnect customers from NetApp disk,” he said. “But it’s good for IBM because the gateways connect to IBM disk.”

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Also new from IBM is 500-Gbyte SATA hard drives for the rebranded NetApp NAS appliances IBM has been selling for several months, as well as NetApp’s Data Fabric Manager software, which collects and reports on both IBM N-series and NetApp appliances, Foley said.

Going forward, IBM will resell all NetApp products already in NetApp’s pipeline at the time the pact was signed, with the IBM version coming 60 days to 90 days after a NetApp introduction, Foley said.

Assuming NetApp follows that pattern, IBM solution providers can expect to get the FAS6000 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.