IBM's battle with EMC gets NASty

IBM to resell NetApp storage systems

IBM and Network Appliance on Wednesday announced a strategic storage relationship aimed at expanding both companies' product lines and offering a more united front against storage giant EMC.

As part of the agreement, IBM will resell IBM-branded systems based on NetApp network attached storage (NAS) and iSCSI/IP SAN solutions, including the NearStore and NetApp V-Series systems and NetApp software products. For its part, NetApp will enhance the integration between NetApp applications and IBM's Tivoli Storage Manager.

NetApp is the market leader in NAS storage, a market that IDC currently forecasts will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.7 percent, reaching $3 billion by 2008. IBM has products in the NAS space, including its recently introduced IBM TotalStorage NAS Gateway 500, but IBM will slowly phase those products out in favor of the NetApp products, IBM officials said.

"The IBM relationship with Network Appliance is a prime example of how two industry-leading companies, both of whom actively support open standards, can team to offer information on demand solutions," said Andy Monshaw, general manager of IBM Storage Systems.

"This relationship is really about pairing innovative NetApp storage solutions with IBM's global market reach, service organization and technology portfolio," said Dan Warmenhoven, CEO at Network Appliance. "We expect this relationship to be mutually beneficial long-term as we roll out our joint solutions over the coming year," he said.

NetApp has a relationship with other storage companies, such as Hitachi Data Systems, but Hitachi earlier this week unveiled its own NAS products, though it will continue to resell NetApp's products.

EMC's NAS product line is the Celerra system. EMC lowered the price of the Celerra last year to better compete with NetApp.