IBM Goes After EMC with 'Turbo' Storage Servers

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2006-08-22
 
 
 
IBM doesn't often name names when it publicly discusses its competitors in the IT storage business, but it made an exception Aug. 22 when it aimed a new product line squarely at market leader EMC.

The new "turbo-powered" line of storage servers offers faster performance and improved system management compared to both EMC's servers and previous IBM models, an IBM spokesperson said.

IBM, based in Armonk, N.Y., also announced the launch of the new IBM System Storage N7000, developed in conjunction with Network Appliance as part of a recent alliance between the two companies.

The N7000 completes IBM's portfolio of unified storage products based on NetApp technology that provide end-to-end systems for enterprise class NAS (network-attached storage) and iSCSI offerings, ranging from 50-person businesses to large data centers.

NetApp will produce the N7000 Series as branded IBM products while concurrently selling similar models under its own name, the spokesperson said.

"This [the Turbo line and the N7000] is the largest expansion of [IBM's] storage portfolio in years," the spokesperson said.

The enterprise-class disk array IBM DS8000 Turbo line features 4GB-per-second FICON (Fibre Connection) throughput, which is about double the I/O now typically available. The Turbo runs on IBM's Power 5 chips, and the company claims that it delivers 15 percent better performance than the company's older model.

"As EMC's appetite for acquisitions grows ever more healthy, the foundation from which the company began is under siege," the IBM spokesperson said. "Market share numbers from IDC show the company is losing its grip on market dominance in the storage sector. Today, with the introduction of more enterprise-to-SMB [small and midsize businesses] appealing systems from IBM, that grip will be further tested."

According to industry reports, IBM has been making strong inroads into the $4.2 billion disk storage systems market share that EMC and HP (Hewlett-Packard) have historically owned.

EMC owned 21.8 percent of the enterprise external disk storage systems market in Q1 2006, with HP at about 18 percent and IBM at 12 percent, according to IDC, in Framingham, Mass.

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