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Storage and servers have been good to IBM, with a large helping hand from Big Blue’s channel, and the company intends to continue that momentum with two new solutions configured for the channel. Shipping on June 15, the  DS3500 Express doubles the capacity and performance of any previous storage product in the DS3000 family and offers multi-protocol support. The System x3620 M3 2U rack server, generally available on June 8, features ‘outstanding’ energy efficiency, integrated RAID adapters and support for up to eight high-capacity, low-cost 3.5" hard disk drives.

Last quarter IBM storage revenue grew 11 percent year-over-year, disk was up 18 percent and storage hardware and software together increased 14 percent, said Mark Loughridge, Chief Financial Officer, Senior Vice President, during the Q1 2010 earnings call. According to Ron Kline, IBM Global Director of Midmarket Marketing, prospects for the near future look equally bright. He tells Channel Insider that the midmarket portion of IBM’s new CEO study shows that these companies have a very strong desire to more more of their IT costs to variables, which should play well to the channel and the Express line of less-complex solutions.

Kline says the Express portfolio is designed around the appropriateness for a midsize company’s IT staff to install, configure and use, and on the ability of channel partners to deliver these solutions. “It’s one of the things we’re trying to accomplish with the midmarket portfolio, Express, reduce the complexity… (and) they’re designed with the channel in mind. They’re built knowing they’re going to be delivered by partners.”

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Analyst David G. Hill, Principal, Mesabi Group LLC, is impressed with the DS3500 Express because it “provides scalability, performance, and protocol flexibility enhancements that its midrange customers should find attractive.”

He also thinks IBM’s partners will be impressed. “IBM’s channel partners should be happy with this product’s flexibility (i.e. read marketability)  as it could fit nicely into either a DAS, a SAN, or a combined environment because of its connectivity and protocol flexibility.”

The DS3500 Express is available in two models, 1746-C2A and 1746-C4A, and specifications include: dual Active, hot-swappable RAID controllers; 1 GB cache per controller with 2 GB upgrade (battery-backed);  three host interface options — four or eight 6 Gbps SAS ports, eight 8 Gbps FC ports and four 6 Gbps SAS ports, or eight 1 Gbps iSCSI ports and four 6 Gbps SAS ports; two 6 Gb SAS drive ports; up to 48 standard and 96 drive premium feature upgrade—high performance SAS drives, nearline SAS drives, and FDE SAS drives supported; and SAN support.

The System x3620 M3 includes: up to two 2.93 GHz six-core (2.66 GHz four-core) Intel Xeon 5600 series processors, up to 1333 MHz memory access speed (also supports select Intel Xeon 5500 series processors); up to 12 MB L3 cache; up to 96 GB RDIMMs1 via 12 slots; 3 expansion slots; disk bays — up to four 3.5-inch simple-swap SATA HDDs or up to eight 3.5-inch hot-swap Serial Attached SCSI (SAS)/Serial ATA (SATA) HDDs for a total of up16.0 TB SAS or up to 16.0 TB hotswap SATA;  RAID support — Embedded Software RAID-0, -1 or Hardware RAID-0, -1, -1E or RAID-0, -1, -10 (additional option -5 with Self Encrypting Disk (SED) function) or RAID-0, -1, -10, -5, -50 with 256 MB or 512 MB cache (additional option -6,-60 with SED function and additional option battery backup), model dependent; and IBM systems management software.