IBM Canada Ltd. says customers can expect big performance boosts after announcing upgrades to its enterprise storage server, the Shark.

Designed to handle large online transaction demands, the storage server is suited for financial institutions, insurance companies, retailers and manufacturers, according to Graham Whillier, national sales manager for storage at IBM Canada in Markham, Ont..

The Model 800 features enhanced throughput helping to double the server’s performance, and in the case of the enhanced turbo model, more than double the performance, says Whillier.

It’s a claim that user Chris Collins agrees with. “At a minimum we have seen a doubling in performance and sometimes even more in some of the other applications we run,” said the Greenville, S.C.-based enterprise computing architecture manager for Ahold, an international supermarket chain owner.

“We’ve reduced our cost per gigabit by almost US$50, …and tripled the amount of gigabit we can put in a box. It was an incredibly advantageous technology turnover for us.”

Ahold was the first to install the Model 800 in June of this year. The company has since ordered and received another three servers.

“We specifically brought in the Model 800 to support a data warehouse that we were rebuilding off an older system,” Collins explained.

Ahold runs its Intel and e-mail servers and Unix servers through the Shark.

Enterprise customers can utilize the storage server as the backbone for high-performing storage area networks (SANs) that will improve their performance, extend distance, increase sharing that will in turn reduce computing infrastructure costs, according to IBM.

The storage server (Model 800) is powered by IBM’s copper microchips.

The Shark has the capability to provide automated failover, so if something goes wrong on a server, any data or workloads can be rerouted back to another section of the machine, Whillier explained.

“It’s designed for that 24 x 7, continuous availability environment that customers are demanding,” he stated.

New autonomic technologies with the storage server have the ability to predict failure analysis.

The Shark also features “parallel access volume” that allows for multiple systems to have access to same volumes of data processing on a machine at the same time.

“It provides for far more concurrence of data processing, and from a throughput point of view is imperative in the high-availability, high-performance environment.

The storage server is designed to work with a variety of hardware and software technologies, like Windows NT, Unix, Novell NetWare, the IBM e-server family and a variety of interfaces, including Fibre Channel (FCP and FICON), Ultra SCSI and ESCON.

A number of disk drive options are available, including the standard 72.8Gb and 15,000 rpm drives in both 18.2Gb and 36.4Gb.

The Model 800 is available. Visit for more information.