IBM Upgrades Capacity, Performance Of FAStT600

The current base model of the FAStT600 can be configured with one or two EXP700 expansion drawers for a maximum of 42 hard drives. With the enhancements, the FAStT600 can accept a third EXP700 for a maximum of 56 hard drives totaling almost 9 Tbytes of capacity, said Harold Pike, worldwide product marketing manager for IBM midrange disk systems. Other enhancements includes a maximum of 16 partitions compared to the previous maximum of eight, and a FlashCopy option to create point-in-time images of data.

The enhancements are keeping with IBM's "pay as you grow" plans, Pike said. "As customers upgrade, they can pay for just what they need," he said.

IBM also introduced a "turbo" option to its FAStT600 which allows a number of premium options to expand the array even further, said Pike.

The turbo option, available September 12 with a price starting at $26,570, is a customer-installable upgrade kit which includes new firmware and upgraded dual controllers with 1 Gbyte of cache memory compared to the previous cache of 256 Mbytes, Pike said.

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With the option, customers can also configure the FAStT600 for up to 64 partitions, up to seven of IBM's FASt EXP700 for a maximum of 112 hard drives, and both FlashCopy and VolumeCopy options. VolumeCopy allows data to be copied locally, and permits access to duplicate data almost immediately in the event of an outage, IBM officials said.

Jerry Schmitt, president of Dempsey Business Systems, an Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider, said the upgrade and expansion capabilities of the FAStT600 arrays shows that IBM is totally committed to storage.

While not every customer actually upgrades their storage arrays once installed, having that capability is important, said Schmitt.

"Customers still want the upgrade ability, even if they have no plans to expand now," he said. "They are looking for long-term ROI investments. And, when you take everything into consideration, there is not a lot of difference in price between various arrays, so upgradeability is a selling point."

About 75 percent of sales of the FAStT600, introduced in April, go through the channel, said IBM's Pike.