Take-Two for IBM and iSCSI

By Larry Barrett | Posted August 30, 2007

IBM this week rolled out a series of new storage products, including the DS3300, an array that includes iSCSI connectivity with simple installation features tailored for the small- and mid-sized business market.

Harold Pike, IBM's entry and mid-range disk product marketing manager, said the DS3300 essentially functions as networked storage incorporating both iSCSI and Serial-Attached SCSI (SAS) connections, making life much easier for companies of any size to transition from direct-attached storage (DAS) configurations to an IP-based storage area network (SAN).

Pike said the DS3300, which is actually IBM's third iteration of an iSCSI storage product, represents Big Blue's latest effort to regain market share from HP and EMC, the two vendors that are dominating the low-end storage market with their MSA and AX150 offerings.


IBM DS3300 storage array
The IBM DS3300 storage array includes iSCSI.

"At the entry level, HP has kicked our butts," Pike said. "Dell, which sells EMC's AX150, is also doing very well because they're smart. They sell their (storage) stuff with their servers. We're the number one server vendor in the world, so I can only assume they must be selling their storage on our servers. We're going to change that. We want to be number one across all the segments."

IBM, Dell, HP and handful of smaller players such as EqualLogic and LeftHand Networks are all scrambling to get their share of the small business market. Pike said IBM's done a fine job of sewing up the large enterprise storage market, but now it must focus on luring companies with fewer than 1,000 employees into the fold.

"The thing I tell everyone is that every company starts small," he said. "The way to grow the way IBM wants to grow is to make sure customers understand the value we can bring to small business customers. No matter who you ask, this is where the real growth is going to come from in the future."

Pike said IBM "sees the market for iSCSI opening up and presenting a large opportunity for sales. iSCSI has turned the corner, with a large number of installations in companies of all sizes, and people are growing more familiar with the lower-cost alternative to FC."

The DS3300 supports SAS hard disk drives and expansion via IBM's System Storage EXP3000 Expansion Unit, giving customers up to 14.4 terabytes of raw capacity and the ability to add up to 48 drives. It will be generally available September 7 and commands a list price of $5,000.

IBM also announced two new Express models based on the DS3400, the Fibre Channel array in the DS3000 series, which have achieved designation as Microsoft Simple SAN Solutions.

The DS3400 solutions incorporate IBM SAN16B-2 Switches and IBM Emulex 4 Gbps FC 1-port PCI-E Enterprise Host Bus Adapters (HBAs). To make installation and management easier, IBM is working with Emulex to deliver "EZPilot" software to configure and manage the various components of the DS3400 Express Kit. EZPilot ties together the DS3400, the Brocade Switch and the Emulex HBAs.

Adapted from internetnews.com.

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