IBM Offers Low-Cost Storage Server for SMBs

Friday Sep 3rd 2004 by Clint Boulton
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IBM's new fit-for-the enterprise server is priced and packaged for the SMB.

In a classic example of how SMBs have captured the attention of top technology companies, IBM Friday announced an entry-level SMB storage server as part of a TotalStorage line.

What's more, the company under cut its competition by pricing the server at about a third less than the street cost of EMC and HP's comparable products.

IBM's new TotalStorage DS300 is an entry-level disk server based on iSCSI and priced under $3,000 for SMBs. The Armonk, N.Y., company also trotted out the TotalStorage DS400, a two-gigabyte fibre channel storage system that is 3U (5.25-inches) thick.

"We've priced this line very aggressively for the small-to-mid-size company," says Rich Lechner, vice president of IBM Storage Systems. "The DS3000 doesn't require a lot of technical skill. It's plug and play, which makes it easy for SMBs to use and maintain."

All in the Family
The DS300 and DS400 are part of the company's TotalStorage DS family. Big Blue is positioning the DS300 and DS400, which run Windows and Linux, as suitable storage systems for its eServer xSeries and BladeCenter rackable systems to serve work group and departmental needs such as managing databases, e-mail and Web serving.

Killing the Competition
EMC offers the AX100 as its leanest entry-level storage product, priced between $4,999 and $9,999. The IBM TotalStorage product line also targets HP's new MSA 1500, which starts at $8,995.

In comparison, IBM's DS300 VL base model starts at $2,995, but costs $4,642 with three 146GB drives. A DS300 Single Controller model will cost $6091 with the drives. The DS300 Dual Controller with five drives will run customers $8340, which is still lower than HP and EMC's entry-level machines.

IBM, along with HP, EMC and Dell are all fighting it out in the small- and medium-sized business space, which many experts expect to grow rapidly as budgets loosen up.

iSCSI Cuts the Cost
Lechner says the DS300 costs so much less because IBM takes advantage of the iSCSI protocol, a substantially cheaper way to move data from servers to storage.

At a time when pricey fibre channel boxes rule the roost, vendors are looking to offer budget-conscious customers low-cost options based on iSCSI.

iSCSI, an Internet Protcol-based method, lets clients create storage area networks (SAN) with Gigabit Ethernet networks. The iSCSI technology — which research firms expect to mature into a $2.7 billion market by 2008 — improves SAN management.

The DS300, fitted with Ultra320 SCSI drives, battery backup cache, and redundant hot-swappable power supplies, lets customers add new power supplies without powering down the server.


IBM's DS3000 storage server
Big Blue's DS300 offers SMBs a new low-cost storage option.

New members of this TotalStorage DS family include the DS4000 mid-range disk systems and the DS4000 Storage Manager V9.1.

Available as a Web download, the Manager software provides new remote mirroring and copy functions — called Global Mirror and Global Copy — to help customers mirror data both synchronously and asynchronously.

These features were previously only available in the company's high-end Shark array.

The IBM TotalStorage DS4000 Storage Manager is available now. Single controller models of the DS300 and DS400 will ship September 24, with dual controller models to come December 17.

Adapted from Internetnews.com.

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