IBM hits both ends of storage market

IBM Corp. will soon be offering new low- and high-end storage arrays aimed at challenging rivals such as Hitachi Ltd. and Dell Computer Corp. with faster devices that provide lower ownership costs.

IBM said this week that it will soon release two new versions of its high-end TotalStorage Enterprise Storage Server, also known as Shark. The new Shark Model 800 and 800 Turbo have, respectively, two and two and a half times the performance of the current model and operate at 2G bit/sec. data transfer rates.

The Shark is available with a variety of options, including 15,000 RPM disk drives in both 18.2GB and 36.4GB capacities, and is powered by new copper microchips. It also has 64GB of internal cache and 3.2G bit/sec. internal bandwidth.

For grocer Royal Ahold NV, the new Shark server “significantly increased the performance” of the company’s backup and recovery process and tripled its storage capacity, said Joe Giacometti, senior vice president of IT. Giacometti also said the new Shark reduced the cost of managing information by US$50 per gigabyte.

The 800 and the 800 Turbo, which carries two additional processors, come with Project eLiza self-management features that enable real-time configuration and management capabilities.

Mike Kahn, president and CEO of The Clipper Group Inc. in Wellesley, Mass., said that with the new Shark models, IBM has caught up with the speed of Hitachi Data Systems Corp. ‘s Freedom Storage Lightning 9900 enterprise array. “The disks essentially get you the data faster, and these new engines allow you to move it faster,” Kahn said.

The 800 will be generally available Aug. 16; pricing will depend on the configuration, which can support RAID-10 data mirroring and striping for performance-sensitive applications, such as online transaction processing and Oracle databases.

IBM last week also announced a pizza-box-size network-attached storage (NAS) device aimed at low and midmarket uses, such as local storage for distributed offices. The TotalStorage NAS 100 array, which has a list price of $4,420, is the third NAS product IBM has released in the past three years. IBM has used the same software management applications in each.