IBM claims it has ushered in a new era in network storage with its first Seascape architecture products, something it’s been talking about since 1995 (CI No 2,674). Seascape, the next generation of IBM’s 3990-6 architecture, was built to challenge the likes of EMC Corp and StorageTek, and uses IBM RS/6000 technology to embed the storage server within the storage subsystem itself, using what IBM calls rich libraries of Unix software for universal data sharing and management. The architecture enables building blocks of storage functionality to be snapped together, using IBM’s Serial Storage Architecture. The first three products are the Network Storage Manager, Release 2.0, AdStar distributed storage manager, and MagStar tape library DataServer. In fact, early versions of these products have been out since last year, though they were expensive and only suitable for very high-end installations. A Virtual Tape Server was also announced last month, and ships next week. Attached to IBM 7133 serial disks, it acts as a cache for the 3494 tape library and 3590 Magstar tapes, and includes hierarchical storage management software. The Open Systems DASD version uses the same basic components but with additional disks rather than the tape. 7133 double speed serial disks will soon run side by side with older disks, and systems can be scaled up from small 1Tb systems up to 40Tb, said an IBM spokesperson. Further open systems announcements are promised shortly, with support for Unix-based systems, including those from NCR Corp, Hewlett-Packard Co, Digital Equipment Corp and Sun Microsystems, along with IBM AS/400s.