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IBM Spends $400 Million on SAN Intiative

IBM Corp. today announced a $400 million initiative to offer products, services and global and regional testing facilities to the storage area network (SAN) market.

Big Blue claims these solutions and services will help customers manage information and transactions efficiently across increasingly complex, multi-vendor networks.

"IBM's SAN initiative is about leveraging every division of the company to deliver on the promise of SANs for our customers -- interoperability between vendor systems and true data sharing," said Linda Sanford, general manager, IBM Storage Subsystems Division in a statement.

As part of the initiative, IBM (www.ibm.com) is establishing more than 50 SAN Solution Centers with its business partners, SAN testing facilities in Montpellier, France as well as in Makuhari, Japan, and a SAN and Storage Services consulting practice within IBM Global Services.

IBM Global Services is delivering new services to help customers implement SANs and other storage solutions. These include Enterprise Storage Assessment, Planning and Design Services, Implementation Services, and Support Services

IBM will also offer products as a result of the initiative, including new models of the Shark Enterprise Storage Server, and new fibre channel-based SAN solutions.

The new models of its Shark Enterprise Storage Server feature IBM’s 64-bit RISC processor, 16 gigabytes of cache, and additional PCI buses, resulting in up to a 100 percent increase in throughput. Existing Shark customers can upgrade to the new processor to gain performance advantages. The enhanced Shark software will support advanced copy services and native fibre channel connectivity as those features become available.

IBM is also announcing new enhanced, industry-standard, fibre channel-based routers, gateways, switches and managed hubs that enhance SAN connectivity in an enterprise. In addition, IBM Magstar tape products can now connect in a SAN using the IBM SAN Data Gateway, allowing them to support the sharing of tape drives within a SAN.

On April 4, IBM’s Tivoli Systems Inc. (www.tivoli.com) will announce Tivoli LAN-free SAN management software, enabling information to be shared across different application programs, servers and storage devices.

IBM also introduced a SAN solution using a cluster of two Netfinity servers with fibre channel connections and Legato Systems Inc. (www.legato.com) mirroring extension software. The cluster can be separated by as much as 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). IBM's SAN Fibre Channel Managed Hub creates high-speed interconnections for such applications as high-availability clustering, storage consolidation, and LAN-free backup.

Industry analysts estimate that by 2002, SANs will be used by 70 percent of all medium and large companies. – Thomas Sullivan

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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