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IBM has launched a pair of low-end storage controllers and is pulling its disk-based storage products underneath its TotalStorage umbrella to offer customers a more scalable and cost-friendly disk-based storage product line.

The TotalStorage DS300 and DS400 controllers, released late this week, kick-start IBM’s new Disk System product line. The DS300, an entry-level disk server for midsize businesses, can scale to 2TB and is priced at less than $3,000. Designed for use with the Armonk, N.Y., company’s eServer xSeries and BladeCenter servers, the DS300 features iSCSI protocol support to enable administrators to better manage SANs (storage area networks).

IBM recently rolled out an entry-level TotalStorage NAS Gateway 500 as a less costly option for more modest performance needs. Click here to read more.

The new storage server includes a 146GB Ultra320 SCSI drive, battery backup cache and redundant hot-swappable power supplies.

Ray Kase, director of IT for Central Bucks School District in Doylestown, Pa., said the DS300 could fit nicely with a site his organization is constructing for remote backup to disk. “The low-end product appeals to me,” said Kase. “We may also consider it for a video studio that we’re putting in one of our high schools so students can have on-site Fibre Channel where the kids could store their digital products, basically connected to their workstation to store their work.”

The DS300 is a clear competitor to the much-ballyhooed AX100 storage server announced earlier this year by EMC Corp. and Dell Inc., analysts said. The DS300 comes into the game late but at a much cheaper cost, said analyst Charles Sageza, of Sageza Group Inc., in Union City, Calif.

The DS400, meanwhile, is a 2GB Fibre Channel controller that can be equipped with up to 5.8TB of storage in a 3U (5.25-inch) form factor. Both the DS300 and DS400 run Windows and Linux. Single-controller models of the new systems will be available before the end of the month; the dual-controller models are scheduled to ship in December, officials said.

As part of the DS family rollout, IBM said it is renaming its FAStT (Fibre Array Storage Technology) 100, 600 and 900 storage servers, which are effectively becoming the TotalStorage DR4100, DR4300 and DR4500, respectively.

As a component of the new DS portfolio, IBM unveiled the TotalStorage DS4000 midrange disk systems family featuring DS4000 Storage Manager Version 9.1 firmware. Available via download, the software offers Global Mirror and Global Copy functions to help customers mirror data synchronously and asynchronously.

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