The array, called SONAS (Scale Out Network Attached Storage), is targeted at mid- and large-size enterprises. The rack-sized array is built in part on hardware and software developed for IBM's supercomputing systems.
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IBM said the system can offer enterprises access to billions of files in support of cloud computing architectures. "IBM SONAS addresses one of the key promises of Cloud computing, which is to provide access to information anywhere at any time," the company said in a statement.
"SONAS will allow an organization to snap-in resources seamlessly as information requirements increase, but it also provides the capability to scan up to a billion files of data in a matter a matter of minutes," the company said.
Terri McClure, an analyst with market research firm Enterprise Strategy Group, said there has been continued interest in commodity-based scale-out platforms in the data center that is driven by the long-term aftershocks of the economic slowdown .
Clustered storage systems provide massive throughput because of an increased port count that comes from cobbling many storage servers together into a single pool of disks and processors, all working on a similar task and all able to share the same data through a single global name space.
Earlier this week, Dell said it had placed a bid to purchase clustered NAS vendor Exanet.
"Scale-out architectures bring a lot of operational efficiency to the table," McClure said. "With 2009 spending slowing to a near stop, scale-out interest mostly stayed just that: interest. In 2010, ESG expects that interest to translate into actual spending, aided by increased visibility from big-name vendors like EMC , HDS, HP , IBM, and NetApp as they continue to invest in scale-out offerings and validate commodity-based scale-out architectures for enterprise applications."
David Hill, an analyst with industry research firm the Mesabi Group, said in a research note that "IBM saw the need for a higher-end solution."