IBM has scaled up its Nas gateway to enter the high-end market, and swapped from Windows on Intel chips to IBM AIX on PowerPC4.
Nas gateways are appliances that link a Nas with other network-based storage, including Sans, so users can access data from one storage pool.
The IBM TotalStorage Nas Gateway 500 supports over 200 terabytes of storage, 10 times that of IBM's current Windows-based Gateway 300, and is offering six times the throughput.
Daniel Sazbon, IBM's director for storage networking sales EMEA, told CRN: "It's a blazing new Nas gateway for Unix. For IBM it is breaking new ground in the enterprise."
Paul Evans, technical service manager at Sagitta Performance Systems, said attaching storage via a Nas gateway to a low-end Windows system was not cost-effective.
"If I have Windows now and buy a Windows Nas box as well, what's the saving? At the low-end it's price-driven," he said.
But he warned that IBM needs a strong offering to play in an established field, where Network Appliance (NetApps) in particular is entrenched.
Sazbon agreed that EMC and NetApps are well-established. Tim Pitcher, NetApps' vice-president for northern Europe, said it was an inspired move.
"One of the biggest challenges is that enterprise data tends to be built in silos, and often on different platforms," he said.
"Using the gateway, you don't have to retrain staff. It saves money and adds flexibility."
Erez Ofer, EMC's vice president of technology strategy, said he was surprised that IBM had entered the high-end Nas gateway market.
"While you should never underestimate IBM, it will have a tough time. It is a new product that has its own issues. Customers will judge," he said.
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