IBM Extends NetApp Deal With New High-End Arrays

NAS Network Appliance OEM storage Fibre Channel

IBM, Armonk, N.Y., also introduced a new data archiving appliance and new half-height LTO-4 tape drives.

IBM unveiled the latest in its family of N Series storage appliances, the N7700 and N7900, based on storage appliances from Network Appliance, Sunnyvale, Calif.

The N7700, which is IBM's rebadged version of NetApp's FAS6040, scales to a maximum of 840 1-Tbyte hard drives and 32 Gbytes of memory, while the N7900, IBM's version of the NetApp FAS6080, scales to up to 1,176 1-Tbyte hard drives and 64 Gbytes of memory.

IBM's N Series includes nearly the entire NetApp hardware appliance line of NAS and SAN appliances. Under an OEM agreement the two vendors signed in 2005, IBM is rebranding nearly the entire line of NetApp SAN and NAS appliances and software for its direct and indirect sales channels.

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IBM also started making new higher-capacity SAS and SATA hard drives, including 1-Tbyte SATA drives, available for other products in its N Series of appliances OEM'd from NetApp, effectively doubling capacity at the high-end for all-SATA configurations, said Charlie Andrews, worldwide marketing manager for IBM system storage.

Pete Elliot, director of marketing at Key Information Systems, a Woodland Hills, Calif.-based IBM and NetApp solution provider, said the new N7000 appliances are aimed at customers who can take advantage of their scalability to do storage consolidation.

"Customers will say, how much can we save, how much to we have to pay," Elliot said. "It ain't cheap. But they have to look at how to save floor space."

Elliot said that working with both IBM and NetApp, which because of the two vendor's OEM agreement have a large overlap in products, can be both a blessing and a curse.

"We sell a lot of the IBM and the NetApp brand, but there are also their direct sales forces," he said. NetApp has a channel strategy, but it's not as strong as we would like it to be. And then there's IBM and all its VARs. Everybody is eating from the same pie."

Also new from IBM is the IBM System Storage SAN768B data center director, which is IBM's version of the model 48000 director from Brocade Communications Systems, San Jose, Calif.

The SAN768B is a platform for moving into such future technologies as Fibre Channel over Ethernet and 8-Gbit per second Fibre channel, Andrews said. "It's really for future technology," he said. "There's not a lot of 8-Gbit products out there yet. But this lets you start to build an 8-Gbit infrastructure."

IBM also unveiled the IBM System Storage DR550 v4.5 archiving and data retention appliance. Andrews said the DR550 fully supports the storage of non-erasable data as well as policy-based migration of such data from disk to tape in order to reduce the cost compared to such produces as the Centera appliance from EMC, of Hopkinton, Mass.

"The Centera keeps filling up," he said. "You can't decrease the capacity. Ours lets data be moved to tape on the backend, and supports encryption on both disk and tape."

IBM is also bringing its new line of half-height LTO-4 tape drives to its IBM System Storage TS3100 and TS3200 tape libraries. That allows either one full-height or two half-height drives and 24 tape cartridges for the TS3100, and double those numbers for the TS3200, Andrews said.