High-End Storage for Less

Thursday May 27th 2004 by Clint Boulton
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If your company requires terabytes of storage, but the five-figure price tag makes you flinch, check out this four-figure alternative from Dell and EMC.

Technology puts a new twist on the old adage that says you can't be too rich, too thin — or have enough storage. For some small-and-medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the right amount of storage came at too high a price. But now, Dell and EMC have joined forces to build a new SAN (storage area network) server for SMBs that's as aggressively priced as it is full featured.

Dell and its rivals IBM and HP have traditionally catered to SMBs, but EMC has come on strong in the past year, offering the NetWin 200 and 110 NAS machines for customers with lean budgets.

The new Dell/EMC AX100 was defined by Dell and developed by EMC, but Dell has manufacturing rights going forward, just as it does with the Dell/EMC CX 200 and 300 systems, based on its multi-year partnership with its Hopkinton, Mass.-based storage systems partner.

Big Business Features, SMB Pricing
Bruce Kornfeld, Dell's director of enterprise marketing, says the AX100 is the industry's first SAN server to employ enterprise-class features such as three terabytes, of storage capacity, RAID 5 support, snapshots and hot-swap drives for less than $10,000 — while still providing easy-to-use installation and maintenance.

The $9,999 device, also available in a SAN-ready, direct-attached storage configuration for $4,999, stores anywhere from 480 gigabytes to 3 terabytes, and it also supports Windows, Linux and Novell NetWare operating systems. Dell and EMC believe pushing new hardware prices below $10,000 will attract interest from a legion of cost-conscious customers.

According to Kornfeld, the idea for the AX100 was completely driven by customer demand, as many existing Dell customers asked for specific functionality and features to make their lives easier. "We listen to customers, get the feedback and then go creatively partner with our technology partners to bring solutions to market," says Kornfeld, who notes that Dell's previous lowest-cost SAN system cost about $20,000. "Customers screaming for this kind of product include SMBs with 10, 20 or maybe even 100 servers, but up to this point, SAN has maybe been too expensive to deploy."

EMC's Jay Krone, director of CLARiiON Product Marketing, said the AX100 will be sold through a distribution network with partners other than Dell, including CDW, Arrow, Avnet, Bell and TechData. "We took all of the hardware technology and the software technology, packaged it up into a single unit under a single model number targeting the channel because it makes it easier to buy when you're a channel partner," Krone said. "What our channel partners end up being able to provide is one-stop shopping for a low-cost SAN and that's exactly what I think Dell is doing."

Adapted from internetnews.com.

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