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IBM Deep-Sixes iSCSI System

Just as iSCSI appears to finally be getting a little bit of wind beneath its wings, IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) has officially terminated its TotalStorage IP Storage 200i system, which had the dubious distinction of being the first commercial iSCSI box on the market.

IBM said it would stop selling the 200i as of August 29, 2003, according to a withdrawal announcement it released on Tuesday. The move follows IBM's decision two weeks ago to discontinue its low-end, Windows-based NAS 100 and 200 systems (see IBM Kills Runts of NAS Litter).

Of course, it's not as if many will be mourning the loss of the 200i, which was built around a Pentium PC with an iSCSI front-end. Introduced in June 2001 -- a year and a half before the iSCSI specification was officially ratified -- the 200i reportedly failed to sell a single unit after one year on the market. Last year, responding to rumors that the system was being phased out, IBM would only confirm that it was no longer "actively marketing" the system, and the company insisted it was still on the price list (see IBM Ditches iSCSI Box).

The demise of the 200i comes as companies including Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), and Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP) start delivering a broad array of standards-compliant iSCSI products (see EMC Delivers iSCSI for DMX, Is EMC Overshooting on iSCSI?, Panel: iSCSI Clear for Takeoff, Microsoft Sparks iSCSI Liftoff, Cisco Implants IP in SANs, and NetApp Blitzes on iSCSI).

It would appear to be rather curious timing, but IBM is clearly also pursuing other iSCSI strategies, and the company is most likely nailing the coffin shut on the 200i so that it can move on to the next stage of the game.

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