IBM releases second set of NAS arrays

IBM Tuesday announced a line of midrange storage arrays -- its second such release in the past three months -- that not only offers network-attached storage capabilities but can transfer data via Fibre Channel and the IP-based iSCSI protocol.

The IBM System Storage N5000 series, which comes from the IBM reseller agreement with Network Appliance Inc. announced in April, is targeted at remote offices or enterprises with distributed environments and can be configured for disk-to-disk backup or archiving with write once, read many (WORM) capabilities.

'We've seen some hesitation from IBM in the past to stick with a given plan. They've been in and out of the NAS marketplace. This time they look happy with the product set,' said Dave Reine, an analyst at The Clipper Group Inc. in Wellesley, Mass.

In September, IBM introduced the 3700 NAS array, a rebranded NetApp FAS270 file server. Today's announcement stems from a rebranding of NetApp's FAS3020 and FAS3050 arrays.

The IBM System Storage N5200 and N5500 products will be available on Dec. 9 in single and dual storage controller models, with the N5200 starting at US$60,000 and the N5500 starting at $85,000.

Reine predicted that both products will sell well, not only because they are based on proven technology from NetApp, but because they now have the backing of IBM's service support and end-to-end technology expertise for integrating the storage into any data center environment.