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IBM Updates Its Storage Products



By David G. Hill. Mesabi Group, June 16, 2008

IBM announced a series of updates to many of its storage products in a presentation whose overarching theme was the company’s new “information infrastructure platform.” IBM is reframing the traditional storage infrastructure as an information infrastructure in order to communicate the long-term value of its storage products and services.

IBM views the information infrastructure platform as a strategy that enables and protects the business value of information through a secure and intelligent storage infrastructure. IBM’s information infrastructure platform has four pillars: information availability, information security, information retention, and information compliance. Information availability delivers continuous, reliable information when and where necessary. Information security protects and enables the secure sharing of information. Information retention supports retention policies and service levels. Information compliance focuses on reducing reputation risks and audit deficiencies.

Toward fulfilling its information infrastructure strategy, IBM made a number of specific announcements:

  • DR550 — IBM calls the DR550 its information retention platform, which means it is IBM's active archiving and compliance offering. IBM is packaging the DR550 into two models; the DR1, which is targeted at SMB clients and the DR2, which is targeted at enterprise clients. IBM reports strong demand for the DR platform but felt that an overhaul was required to ease ordering, pricing, and upgrading processes as well to simplify set up, service, and support. IBM also announced improved hardware monitoring and problem management for the platform through its IBM Director solution.

  • N Series — IBM’s various N series NAS products are sold through its relationship with Network Appliance. The second generation of the enterprise class N7000 series includes faster onboard port speeds, massive scalability (up to over 1 petabyte), and onboard remote management. The new N3000 series enhancements include an easy start wizard and internal SATA drives for lower cost. In addition, all N series systems now support 1TB SATA disk drives, effectively doubling their previous maximum capacities (which were based on 500GB drives). SnapManager, which supports snapshot technology for IBM’s N series products, now works with MS Office SharePoint Server 2007.

  • SAN768B — IBM’s new SAN768B, which provides the fabric backbone for next-generation enterprise datacenter fabrics, is basically bigger and faster than previous models and delivers up to four times the performance of previous directors.

  • LTO-4 Half-High Tape Drives — IBM's TS3100 and TS3200 can now support LTO-4 half-high tape drives. This announcement is targeted specifically at SMB customers who should benefit from the lower cost and lower power characteristics of the new offering as well as support for key functionalities including tape drive encryption and key management.

  • DS3000 Series — The DS3000 Series, a low end disk array designed for the SMB market, now supports the new 1TB SATA drives, as well. These new updates provide an interesting frame for IBM information infrastructure platform, but we will be interested to see how the new strategy develops as IBM fills in the blank spots and deepens the hues. Until then, this announcement offers everybody a little something as part of an early Big Blue Valentine’s Day present.

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