IBM Unveils New Storage Products
February 19, 2008 Alex Woodie
IBM unleashed a torrent of new storage products last week. Big Blue had a little something for everyone, including new USB-connected tape drives for X64 servers, new policy-based data management features in its popular DR550 archiving array, a major upgrade to its high-end SAN switch, and significant enhancements to its N Series SAN arrays.
Half-Height LTO Drives
Leading things off is IBM’s new System Storage TS3100 and TS3200 “Express” lines of tape libraries, which can now be outfitted with half-height LTO 4 drives. These new tape libraries, which support up to 19.2 TB across 24 cartridge slots and two drives on the TS3100 Express and up to 38.4 TB across 48 data cartridge slots and four drives in the TS3200 Express, offer better capacity and data transfer rates than the previous generation of libraries based on the LTO-3 half-height drives.
The new tape libraries support i5/OS V6R1’s new encryption capabilities, when V6R1 ships next month. However, this will require the use of LTO 4 drives; the libraries support LTO 3 and LTO 2 drives, as well. IBM first delivered support for full-height LTO 4 drives in the TS3100 and TS3200 libraries last May. The new libraries use SAS drives, and become available March 14 starting at a price of $8,300.
System i shops will be interested in the new DR550 models IBM announced last week. The DR550, which IBM initially released more than two and a half years ago, is a Power-based SAN array that ships with features like data replication, encryption, and write once, read many (WORM) capabilities that medium size and large companies require of their data archives.
With the release of DR550 version 4.5, IBM has added a policy-based management system, called System Storage Archive Manager (SSAM), that enables “the transparent and automated movement of archived data between storage tiers for cost savings without compromising the security of archived data,” IBM says.
IBM also has split the line into two models, including the Model DR1, which is suited primarily for mid size clients, and the Model DR2, which offers about 50 percent more storage than the Model DR1, and is available in single and dual-node configurations for high availability setups. The enhanced DR550 DR1 will be generally available on February 29, 2008 with a starting configuration price of $26,000. The DR550 DR2 will be generally available on February 29, 2008, with a starting configuration price of $73,000.
N Series Array Improvements
IBM also announced its next generation of N Series System Storage arrays, which is part of IBM’s “unified storage” line of arrays powered by AMD Opteron processors (as opposed to Power processors, as used in its top-of-the-line DS6000 and DS8000 arrays).
The new N7700 is an enterprise-strength network attached storage (NAS) or storage area network (SAN) line of devices that can hold up to 840 Fiber Channel- or SATA-based drives, providing up to 840 TB of storage for Windows, Linux, or Unix servers (when 1TB FC drives are used), while the new N7900 line supports up to 1,176 FC or SATA drives, providing total capacity of nearly 1.2 petabytes with the largest FC drives. The N7700 and N7900 devices also support System i servers, but only Windows, Linux, and AIX components; i5/OS is not supported.) The new NAS devices become available April 18. The N7700 will start at $125,000, while the N7900 will start at $190,000.
New options for the entry-level N3300 and N3600 devices were also unveiled by IBM. On March 7, Linux, Unix, and Windows shops that use the storage arrays will be able to use new 500 GB and 750 GB SATA drives and 1 TB FC drives with their N3300 and N3600 arrays, giving these devices total storage capacity of 68 TB and 104 TB, respectively. The N3600 also gained support for an array of new network interface cards (NICs) and host bus adapters (HBAs) connecting them to the new FC and iSCSI storage resources. Bigger drives also enabled IBM to double the storage capacity of its other midrange and high-end N Series devices. The N5300 grew from 168 to 336 TB, the N5600 from 252 to 504 TB, the N7600 from 420 to 840 TB, and the N7800 from 504 to 1008 TB.
IBM also announced the DS3300 DC power model 32T, a storage array for small and mid size telecommunications providers (SMTPs). The unit features a dual iSCSI controller enclosure for 12 SAS or SATA disk drives, dual redundant DC power supplies, and a new bundle of software designed for allowing SMTPs to provide “everything from basic voice telephony to Internet Protocol television (IPTV), video on demand (VoD), IP multimedia subsystems (IMS), and security,” IBM says.
The new SAN768B fabric backbone is designed for larger midrange to enterprise-level SAN applications. IBM claims the SAN768B, which can support up to 768 ports across two domains, is the first “director-class” switch to support 8 GBps rates over FC links–a two-fold improvement over prior generations–while reducing risk, complexity, and power consumption. It supports all IBM servers in FC environments, including System i servers, and ships February 22 with a suggested price of $165,470.
Last but not least is the DDS Generation 6 USB Tape Drive, the latest in the line of 5.25-inch tape drives for the X64-based System x platforms. The new 6th generation DDS tape drive offers up to 80 GB of capacity in a single cartridge, and data transfer rates of 6 MBps. A USB interface and backward compatibility with DDS Gen 5 and DDS Gen 4 cartridges rounds out the announcement.