IBM Makes SMB Storage Move With LSI

IBM on Tuesday introduced the System Storage DS3000 family of entry-level disk arrays. The DS3200 model, with serial-attached SCSI (SAS) on the front and back ends, is based on LSI Logic's Engenio 1333 array, unveiled last month, said Rajesh Sukhramani, manager of System x options and storage at IBM. And the DS3400, which connects to a Fibre Channel SAN on the front end and SAS drives on the back end, is based on LSI's Engenio 1932 array, which also was unveiled Tuesday.

IBM's versions of both arrays use the same hard drives and drive carriers as its System x server line, according to Sukhramani. "They integrate well into our server lines," he said.

The arrays also have a 12-drive capacity and can be expanded to 48 hard drives by connecting up to three EXP3000 external storage arrays, Sukhramani said. In addition, the EXP3000 can connect to a server's RAID controller for a low-cost, stand-alone array, and then it later can be plugged into the DS3200 or DS3400 when a customer's storage needs grow to the point that they must implement a SAN, he said.

The DS3200 and DS3400 come to market at a time of growing interest in SAS, Sukhramani noted. "We've reached the point where SAS is outselling iSCSI," he said. "In the fourth quarter, SAS and iSCSI drive sales were about equal. The first quarter is the real transition to SAS."

Sponsored post

The DS3200 carries a starting list price of $4,495, and the DS3400 starts at $6,495. Both prices include the enclosure, a single controller, a dual-redundant power supply and DS3000 Storage Manager software, but no drives, Sukhramani said. The software, which allows the arrays to be installed with as few as six steps and in as little as 45 minutes, is a customized version of LSI's Simplicity Software, he said.

The DS3000 arrays are slated to ship by the end of January. Sukhramani said he expects the bulk of sales to go through IBM's System X server channel partners.

IBM follows other enterprise storage vendors pushing hard into the SMB storage arena. EMC early last year introduced its second-generation SMB array, the AX150, a followup to its earlier AX100, the company's first sub-$5,000 storage array. That was followed in mid-2006 by Network Appliance's StoreVault S500 NAS-iSCSI appliance and in September by Hewlett-Packard's StorageWorks All-in-One Storage System family of combination NAS-iSCSI SAN appliances.

Meanwhile, LSI has extended its entry-level SAS array line with the introduction of its Engenio 1932 array, on which the IBM DS3400 is based. The Engenio 1932 is aimed at SMBs moving from internal storage to external storage, said Rip Wilson, LSI's product marketing manager.

"It's for companies with limited IT resources and expertise who do not have a dedicated storage administrator," Wilson said. "And it's for enterprises with departments and remote offices where customers don't have dedicated administrators. These offices often have the same lack of resources and administration expertise as small businesses."

The Engenio 1932 -- managed by the same LSI Simplicity Software used for a wide range of arrays from LSI and many of its OEM partners, such as IBM -- provides such capabilities as automatic I/O path failover, online administration, storage partitioning, data snapshots and volume copy, Wilson said.

LSI expects to add SATA drive connectivity to its Engenio 1331, 1333 and 1932 arrays in mid-2007, according to Wilson. "Customers will be able to purchase any combination of SAS and SATA drives in the enclosure," he said.