Weeks after it sold its low-end x86 server range to Lenovo, IBM is on the verge of making a u-turn that may see it sever a strategic partnership with storage expert NetApp.

Bloomberg claims that Big Blue will "formally withdraw from selling NetApp's new N series systems" today and stop development on the product line.

Instead, IBM will be focusing on its own brand offerings, a move that would hit NetApp's bottom line but reinforce IBM's as the latter seek to build on the profitable product line. According to data collected by Bloomberg, IBM brings in 2% of NetApp's revenue.

Who will lose the most?

The partnership between the two companies date from 2005 and the close relationship between the two meant that rumours of an outright acquisition were common.

The N series alliance is almost five years old and saw IBM commit to providing "end-to-end IT services that address storage and server infrastructure optimization as well as infrastructure optimization services for desktop virtualization projects".

NetApp also has a strong relationship with Cisco, for whom it developed the FlexPod. The network giant competes with IBM in the networking and server markets.

IBM's current storage portfolio covers DSS and NAS, flash storage, SANs, SDN, Flash, tape and a whole array of support options.

We will update the story during the day if there's any formal announcements.