IBM rounds out 4Gbps arrays

Posted on August 08, 2006

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By Kevin Komiega

—IBM completed fitting its midrange storage systems with 4Gbps Fibre Channel connectivity this week with the launch of a new entry-level array and a round of hardware and software upgrades for its System Storage DS4000 family of disk arrays.

Big Blue launched the entry-level DS4200 Express Fibre Channel subsystem for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and added 500GB Serial ATA (SATA) hard drives and software options for the entire DS4000 series.

The goal is to offer smaller companies better management of their data on enterprise-class storage for an entry-level price, according to Harold Pike, IBM's worldwide product marketing manager for midrange disk systems.

The DS4200 Express features 4Gbps Fibre Channel interfaces and support for up to 56TB of capacity using expansion units with 500GB SATA drives.

The DS4200 Express is the 4Gbps replacement for the 2Gbps DS4100. The Express has more space for hard drives as well as dual controllers for redundancy, and supports software features such as FlashCopy, VolumeCopy, and remote mirroring.

FlashCopy creates point-in-time images of data volumes for backup operations, and VolumeCopy replicates data volumes at a rate of up to eight concurrent active copies per source volume. VolumeCopy also enables data migration between tiers of storage.

Pike admits that most SMB customers will not scale their DS4200 Express systems to 56TB, but that many customers will use the array as general-purpose storage or as a destination for remote mirroring of data.

"We think the DS4200 Express is a good product for SMBs that are moving to their first SAN," says Pike.

IBM offers an all-inclusive warranty with the DS4000 family versus buying separate warranties for the drives and software applications. The 4200 Express warranty covers the entire system with next-day service, a model recently adopted by EMC and Dell for their co-branded Clariion AX150 subsystems and software.

IBM is also offering the 500GB SATA drives as an option for the rest of the DS4000 family, including the DS4700, DS4800, and EXP810. Pike says the addition of 500GB drives will make the DS4000 family a good option for tiered storage architectures and for other applications such as nearline data backup, online transaction processing, data warehousing, e-commerce, content management, and medical imaging.


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