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IBM to ax low-end storage products

Big Blue will stop selling two network-attached storage devices next month, as the company focuses on higher-end data storage products.

IBM will stop selling two low-end network-attached storage (NAS) devices next month, as the company focuses on higher-end data storage products.

Big Blue announced on its Web site earlier this month that it will stop taking orders for its TotalStorage NAS 100 and TotalStorage NAS 200 products as of Aug. 29. IBM will not replace the Windows-based storage units with newer products, company spokesman Clint Roswell said Tuesday.

"The lower-end NAS boxes serve a segment of the marketplace very well, but one that does not appeal to many IBM customers," Roswell said.

NAS technology involves a hard disk storage device that sits on a local area network. NAS equipment often is used by smaller companies or work groups within large organizations. The technology made up 11 percent of the $3.2 billion spent on external disk storage systems in the first quarter of 2003, according to research firm IDC. Storage area network (SAN) gear, which refers to storage devices connected to server computers typically through the Fibre Channel protocol, made up 47 percent. Direct-attached storage devices, which are linked to just one server, made up 42 percent.

John McArthur, an IDC storage analyst, said IBM's move away from NAS is wise. "It's a volume business where the margins are thin," he said. "It's not really core to IBM's direction."

IBM is more focused on SAN products--which typically are used by larger companies--but it isn't leaving the NAS market completely. The company will continue to sell its NAS 300G product, which is a device that can link computers on a local area network with a SAN.

Other companies that sell NAS products include Dell and Snap Appliance.