IBM Hits New Low In Storage

The new arrays, including its first iSCSI array and an entry-level Fibre Channel model, are aimed at helping the company compete against EMC and Dell in the small- and mid-size business space, IBM officials said.

It is a product for which the channel has been waiting, said David Browning, executive vice president of Advanced Systems Group, a Tustin, Calif.-based IBM solution provider.

Browning said he has been looking for an iSCSI-based product from IBM that comes in below the Fibre Channel price to compete against the likes of Dell, Nexsan and Network Appliance. "This is almost a whitebox solution," he said.

Such low-cost storage sub-systems make sense in a smaller company's file and print server environment, Browning said. "A lot of people buy storage for the price," he said. "So you might as well have a product line for across the board."

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That is what IBM now has, said Cindy Grossman, director of marketing at IBM.. List price for its new DS300 iSCSI array starts at under $3,000, including a single controller but no disks. A dual-controller version lists starting at $5,600.

List prices for the new DS400 Fibre Channel array lists start at about $5,000 plus the cost of the hard drives, which are expected cost about $2,200 for four, 146-Gbyte units.

Shipments of both are expected to start late this month.

The move follows similar steps by EMC and Dell with their AX 100 array and HP with its new entry-level EVA.

IBM also renamed its FAStT midrange array family with the DS4000 moniker, Grossman said. As a result, the FAStT 100 is now the DS4100, the FAStT 600 is now the DS4300, the FAStT 700 is now the DS4400 and the FAStT 900 is now the DS4500.

The company also increased the DS4000 family's capabilities with the addition of global mirroring, which allows data to be mirrored across long distances.

Advanced Systems Group doens't expect the name change to have any impact, Browning said. "Customers basically buy for speeds and feeds," he said. "Customers might say they want a 2-Tbyte array with 2-Gbps Fibre Channel. Call it a FAStT or a Widget."

Also on Friday, IBM introduced a new low-cost Fibre Channel switch OEM'd from Emulex to go with its xSeries x86-based servers and DS400 arrays, Grossman said.