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IBM Refresh Is Muted

Users hoping for any drama in IBM's latest storage upgrade are likely to be disappointed. Big Blue has picked its spots carefully, including virtualization, enterprise and SMB storage arrays, and VTL wares, but most improvements are incremental.

Here's a rundown:

  • Virtualization. IBM has finally adopted NetApp's Virtual File Manager, which comes from Brocade, as part of its product line. Years after NetApp's original release, IBM's OEM'd version provides global namespace for files on Unix, Linux, and Windows servers. IBM is selling its IBM System Storage N series Virtual File Manager (VFM) in the Enterprise and Migration editions featured by NetApp. (Migration is a lighter version of VFM that handles Windows files.)

    VFM Enterprise and Migration will be available on October 26 for $2,000 and $1,500, respectively.

    IBM says that any customers who also use VMware won't have to toggle between vendors to get service from now on. "If something breaks, you can call either vendor. We both agree the solution works, and we now have a formal statement of support on both sides," says Charlie Andrews, director of IBM system storage product marketing.

  • VTL. Responding to increased interest in high-end tape archiving, IBM has added larger 750-Gbyte SATA disks and the ability to interact with LTO-4 tape drives to its TS7520 open systems VTL. The enhanced product will sell for $104,769 starting December 7. IBM says the improvements will also support IBM's half-height LTO-4 cartridges for smaller firms.

    DS3000/DS4000 improvements. IBM has added 750-Gbyte SATA drives to the DS3000 unit and opened it up to IBM System p servers and BladeCenter Power units. For the DS4000, a firmware upgrade expands volumes beyond the 2-Tbyte capacity they've had until now. Also, IBM has added RAID 6 support to the DS4000 midrange system.

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