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IBM Unveils Hardware Bundled With Windows Storage Server 2003

IBM is shipping versions of its xSeries and BladeCenter servers bundled with Microsoft’s Windows Storage Server 2003 in a move aimed at the market for less-expensive, Windows-based network-attached storage (NAS) file servers.

So far Big Blue is offering four basic models, which it has officially dubbed the IBM eServer xSeries and BladeCenter Storage Servers.

They vary from the xSeries 206 Storage Server, a single processor Intel Pentium 4 system running at either 3.2 or 3.4 GHz, with up to 4 GB of memory and up to a terabyte of disk, to the xSeries 226 Storage Server, which features up to two Intel Xeon processors running at 3 or 3.4 GHz, with up to 16 GB of memory and a terabyte of disk storage standard (1.2 TB maximum).

Three of the models feature the ability to hold two Xeon CPUs with an 800 MHz front-side bus, 2 MB of Level 2 cache and Intel Extended Memory 64 Technology (EM64T). One of the models – IBM’s eServer HS20 Blade Storage Server Gateway comes with a 2-gigabit dual port Fibre Channel daughter card standard. Additionally, they come with a variety hot-swappable disk options.

All come preloaded with Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2003 with Print and Storage Manager 2.0. Pricing for the systems varies from $2,799 to $30,000, depending on the model chosen, according to a company spokeswoman.

Microsoft launched Windows Storage Server 2003 in September 2003, about five months after the original Windows Server 2003 launch. It is intended as a dedicated file and print server optimized for scalable storage and leveraging the many storage enhancements in Windows Server 2003. Having grown out of the Windows Powered NAS 2.0 server appliance kit, the storage-only SKU is available only through OEMs as part of a hardware-software package.

IBM joins a long list of Microsoft hardware partners already offering NAS appliances based on the dedicated OS. Hardware vendors selling Windows Storage Server-based appliances include Dell, EMC, Fujitsu Siemens, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, Iomega and NEC.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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