Targeting the fast growing SMB storage market, IBM Corp. today launched two new devices including the first low-end native iSCSI device to ship from a tier-one supplier.
While IBM’s iSCSI-only array will list at just $3,000 for a base unit, the Fibre Channel device will start at $5,000. Both boxes are aimed at filling out IBM’s portfolio in the same low-end space that EMC targeted in May this year when it launched its similarly low-priced Clariion AX-100 array, code-named Piranha, but they are even cheaper.
The market is changing, and it’s primarily an Intel-based space we’re going after. Our [IBM Intel-powered] X-series server partners are the ones who told us that now is the time, said Cindy Grossman, IBM’s director of disk marketing.
To sell into this low-end sector IBM has until now had to heavily discount the cheapest of its mid-range FastT arrays, or pitch its EXP 400 arrays, which although cheaper than the new DS400 is an unsophisticated device. IBM described the EXP 400 as primarily JBOD, ie just a bunch of disks without RAID and without data replication or other management software.
The new Fibre Channel array is called the DS400 will expand from one to two controllers, and a version fully loaded with 5TB of disk will list at around $7,000. IBM said the DS400 will ship with a full suite of data mirroring and other software. That compares to what EMC said in May was a list price of around $7,000 for a 0.5TB configuration of its AX-100.
Further downmarket still, IBM’s new iSCSI device is called the DS300 and will carry a list price of around $4,600 for a version fully loaded with 2TB of SCSI disk.
IBM was a very early backer of iSCSI, and in 2001 launched an array with external iSCSI connections called the 200i. Widely judged to be both too early and too expensive, it barely sold. Now IBM is back on the case again, arguing that Ethernet-based iSCSI can rewrite the economics of storage servers by providing mid-sized businesses a simple low cost way to use advanced storage management techniques. That means iSCSI-based storage networks, which are far cheaper and simpler to build than Fibre Channel SANs.
The DS400 and DS300 are made by IBM, unlike IBM’s more expensive FastT mid-range arrays that are made by Engenio Information Technologies Inc. As part of an effort to convince customers of the breadth of its disk offerings, the FastT’s have been renamed as DS4000 arrays.