IBM on Tuesday announced a new device for linking storage networks, saying the product offers greater performance and compatibility with other companies' storage gear.
The product, called a network-attached storage (NAS) gateway, enables machines on an Ethernet network to connect to a storage-area network (SAN) for file serving and sharing. NAS gateways, also made by IBM competitors such as EMC and Network Appliance, are part of a broader trend of merging networked storage methods for improved efficiency and lower costs. IBM's new NAS Gateway 500 differs from Big Blue's current NAS Gateway 300 product; it uses IBM software, rather than a Microsoft operating system, as well as a higher-performance processor. The NAS Gateway 500 is expected to be available Feb. 6, with prices starting at $60,000. IBM said it will stop selling its NAS Gateway 300 at the end of March.
John McArthur, an analyst at research firm IDC, said the changes result in a higher-end product appropriate for data centers at midsize and larger companies. "It fits well with the customer segment (IBM is) serving," he said. NAS gateways are a way of bridging the worlds of NAS and SAN. SANs are specialized networks composed of disk arrays and switches. They are speedy and hold plenty of data--but can be expensive and result in cumbersome file sharing. Traditional NAS boxes are dedicated computers that serve up files over common Ethernet networks. They are generally simpler to manage than SANs but provide less performance and can top out on capacity.
News source: C|net