Dell Throws Small Business a Storage Line

By Andy Patrizio | Posted September 11, 2007

Saying that the small to medium-sized business market has been "underserved," Dell today introduced a new storage system especially for the sector.

The problem, according to Dell CEO Michael Dell, is that SMB-oriented storage is either stripped down, crippled versions of their enterprise product, or the enterprise product scaled down slightly by still expensive. "It either costs too much or doesn't do what you want it to do," Dell said.

As a result, 75 percent of SMBs don't use storage systems. Dell is positioning its new MD3000i as the more affordable alternative storage solution than those from "alphabet soup" providers, as Darren Thomas, vice president and general manage of the storage division at Dell, put it.


Dell's MD3000i
Dell pushes storage for small business with the MD3000i.

The MD3000i starts at $13,000, while competing products start at around $15,000. Not much of a difference. But Dell says it spares small business owners added pain (and expense) by not tacking on additional software licenses as they add more drives or shelves.

The Dell server can add more shelves and drives without inflating the software license, and the drives are 40 percent cheaper than competitive drives, said Thomas. As it grows and scales in performance and capacity, the expenses are kept down.

The MD3000i uses iSCSI instead of fibre channel, which means it operates over an Ethernet network. This makes it easily configurable over the network and it uses Ethernet authentication and encryption, making it as secure as fibre channel, said Thomas.

The device offers redundant power supplies and cooling fans that are hot swappable, meaning they can be replaced while the machine remains on and in use.

Configuration wizards that detect the storage servers and automatically pair them with the physical server of the administrator's choosing drive the entire system. This discovery and pairing is all done with a few clicks.

Robert Boyle, CEO of Tellurian Networks, a managed hosting provider serving medical, financial and legal customers, commends the company on the product. "It's a very polished product. It feels like a version three or version four product. It doesn't feel like a new product," he said.

Tellurian has a SAN in its environment now but it takes two technicians two days to configure it. Not so with the MD3000i. "Our people can set something up and have it running in 20 minutes instead of three days," said Boyle.

Dell said that he expects the MD3000i to do well because storage is often sold with servers. "So as we're selling a lot of servers, it follows we're going to sell a lot of storage," he said.

Adapted from internetnews.com.

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