Intel Brings Entry-Level Storage Servers To System Builders

Intel on Tuesday unveiled two new entry-level storage servers, with the internal code name "Helena Island," for the system builder channel based on its Celeron 400 series processor and DDR2 memory, one of which includes software from storage giant EMC.

The SS4200-EHW is a hardware-only storage server with room for up to four 3.5-inch SATA hard drives for a total internal capacity of up to 4 Tbytes. It also has E-SATA support for connecting extra SATA hard drives externally, as well as four USB 2.0 connectors. It also has a Gbit Ethernet LAN connector.

The storage server is currently being validated for use with Microsoft's Windows Home Server operating system, and can also be used with storage-specific operating systems from vendors such as FalconStor Software, Open-e, and Wasabi Systems, said Seth Bobroff, director of marketing for storage at Intel

The SS4200-E is similar to the SS4200-EHW, except that it also includes EMC's Retrospect software for backing up Windows and Apple Macintosh environments, Bobroff said. "It gives a clean, simple, easy out-of-the-box experience so customers don't need to know what RAID is," he said.

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Both models include a tool-free chassis for ease of configuration by system builders, Bobroff said.

The two are a follow-on from the SS4000-E which Intel introduced in February 2006 for the small business and consumer market, Bobroff said. The SS4000-E, which is still available, included hot-swap drive bays, a feature that was deleted from the SS4200-E family to lower the cost and make it more simple.

James Huang, product marketing manager at Amax Information Technology, a Fremont, Calif.-based system builder, said the new Intel storage servers have a lot of potential, especially in the Windows Home Server market for customers looking for centralized storage and backups.

The new storage servers are also easy to build, Huang said. "The hard drives are on the top, and the motherboard and CPU are on the bottom, similar to a rack-mount design," he said. "You just add the hard drives, and you're done."

In addition to the Intel product, Amax next week also plans to introduce its own Microsoft Windows Home Server-based home server solution, with a list price starting at $599, Huang said.

The new Intel storage servers are expected to ship in December, with prices starting at about $500. Bobroff said he expected those distributors carrying the SS4000-E, including Ingram Micro, Tech Data, Bell Micro, and Arrow, to also carry the SS4200-E family.