IBM Shines Up Storage Tools, Big and Small

A range of enhancements across a number of product lines target SMBs and enterprises.
Posted February 12, 2008

Judy Mottl

Continuing to refresh its storage technologies, IBM today rolled out a sweeping array of enhancements to products for both enterprises and small and midsize businesses (SMB) -- as well as dusting more "feature-shine" on an offering for telecom plays.

IBM's latest product enhancements aim to provide customers with cheaper, faster and more efficient storage solutions, according to Charlie Andrews, IBM's worldwide product manager of system storage.

Customers, whether large enterprises or small startups, seek less-expensive storage while also needing to meet expanding data requirements, Andrews told

"The move is toward driving more efficiency," he said. "Our larger customers want fewer boxes but bigger drives. Our SMBs don't want big boxes just sliced and chopped down. They want systems geared toward their specific needs."

In an effort to respond, Big Blue has plugged new hardware into its IBM N7000 Modular Disk Storage System series, making each appliance faster and twice as large.

As a result, the series' new N7700 and N7900 now support up to 1,176 terabytes (TB) of raw capacity. The two units will become available in April.

Meanwhile, the N3300 now scales to 68TB, while the N3600 grows to 104TB and the N5300 doubles to 336TB. The N5600, N7600 and N7800 likewise grow to 504TB, 840TB and 1008TB, respectively.

Targeting the SMB N-series customer, the N3300 and N3600 now support SATA or SAS drives in the controller. IBM has also integrated its SnapManager for Microsoft Office SharePoint on every N-series system.

The vendor tagged the same functionality onto its DS8000 Turbo series in the fourth quarter of last year.

"It provides customers with a better price point," Andrews said.

While IBM's System Storage DR550 has been around for a while, the vendor is pushing out two new models (DR1 and DR2) of the enterprise-focused archival and compliance appliance, both of which now use IBM Director as the management system.

DR1 is a 25U pre-integrated device aimed at medium-sized customers, while the DR2 features a tall 36U rack for the larger-size enterprise.

The new offerings should benefit both IBM and its customers, Andrews said.

"We've repackaged them to make it easier for our sales channel and to provide better appliance support in the field for customers," he said.

Both units will be available at the end of February.

IBM's System Storage SAN768B platform, which runs on both Brocade and McDATA fabrics, also received an update as part of the product refresh.

"It's bigger and provides 8-gigabit-per-second link speed over Fibre Channel links," Andrews said. It's available in both a 4Gbps and 8Gbps configuration.

According to an IBM spokesperson, the new link speed provides a 100-percent improvement in data transfer speed from the previous generation.

The updated SAN768B will be available later this month.

On the SMB level, IBM has revamped the current generation of its Linear Tape-Open (LTO) tape drive, which debuted in April. The new TS3100 and TS3200 Tape Library Express Models are geared toward saving both cost and physical space, IBM said.

Andrews said the products, which are slated to ship in mid-March, will provide SMBs with better security against physical loss and theft, as well as improved performance. In addition to speed enhancements, users can encrypt data using the IBM Encryption Key Manager.

A final offering also received an update, specifically targeting SMBs in the telecom space.

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