IBM To Offer iSCSI Storage With New Array

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The new DS3300, which is expected to ship early next month, is similar to its existing DS3000 family of arrays, including the DS3200 SAS-based array and the DS3400 4-Gbps Fibre Channel array, said Charlie Andrews, director of product marketing for IBM system storage.

All three models come in a 2U rack mount format with room for up to 48 hard drives, Andrews said. They use the same expansion trays, and offer about the same performance, he said.

A DS3300 should list for about $4,500 for the single-controller control unit. The dual-controller version will probably be priced for twice that, Andrews said. A nicely"configured DS3300 for the average small and midsize business customer will probably be under $15,000.

Each array controller can be configured with up to three adaptors, allowing the array to be direct-attached to up to three host servers. "That will be good for Exchange for smaller businesses," Andrews said.

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IBM plans to offer Express bundles for the DS3300, including bundles with adapter cards and cables, to help cut the total storage sub-system cost, he said.

Whereas many tier-two storage vendors already came to market with iSCSI versions of their storage arrays one or two years ago, tier-one vendors like IBM have been slow bringing out similar products, a fact that Andrews attributed to strong sales of existing non-iSCSI models.

"We were early with SAN product, and we still have a lot of businesses that run on Fibre Channel," he said. "So we need to balance the needs of our existing customer base. A lot of tier-two vendors don't have that existing base."

The relatively late arrival of IBM's iSCSI offering makes sense to Sean Hobday, executive vice president of sales at Zones, an Auburn, Wash.-based direct marketing company with a services arm for the products it sells.

"We often see smaller vendors enter a market before the tier ones," Hobday said. "I just talked to a customer with 500 users who said they haven't jumped into iSCSI yet because the large vendors don't offer it. Now they're ready to jump all over it. Customers want to call only one or two vendors for support."

The DS3300 should do well with smaller customers, Hobday said. "We feel it'll fill a gap in this part of the storage market," he said.