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Continuing its strategy to add more products to its SMB storage catalog, IBM Jan. 16 introduced two entry-level-priced disk arrays with high-end, integrated management software boasting functionality previously found only in much larger systems.

Big Blue’s announcement comes at a time when competing storage vendors, such as NEC, LSI Logic, EMC, NetApp, Quantum, Sun Microsystems and HP, are also refreshing their product lines to cater to small and midsize businesses.

IBM’s System Storage DS3000 Series is aimed at giving SMBs a simple, reliable and affordable system to handle all data storage needs, a spokesperson for the Armonk, N.Y., company said.

A key feature of the DS3000 is the Storage Manager software, which comes standard on all configurations and allows customers to set up and manage their data resources in a mere six steps.

The configuration, administration and management of the DS3000 is an important feature for SMB managers, or remote offices of a large distributed enterprise, because they may not have access to the IT expertise required to set up a storage network, the spokesperson said.

“What I think is interesting about this system is the advanced copying functions that allow you to make copies of volumes within the disk system,” Dianne McAdam, director of enterprise information assurance with The Clipper Group, in Wellesley, Mass., told eWEEK.

“I should mention that many disk systems for this market provide this feature. But the trend is clear: These advanced features that were only available on the high-end storage are now available for the SMB market at very affordable pricing.”

IBM recently filled another hole in its catalog of storage hardware and software for SMBs. Click here to read more.

The DS3000 Series comprises the DS3200 and the DS3400. Both products offer an entry-level single-controller model and a dual-controller model to help maintain data availability.

The DS3200 is a direct-attached storage system that offers support for clustering and provides 3G-bps SAS connection to the host. It is a flexible solution for IBM System x servers and select third-party servers.

The DS3400 system, which can be direct-attached or used in a storage area network configuration, is designed to accommodate 4G-bps Fibre Channel connectivity. The DS3400 offers flexibility for both IBM System x and BladeCenter servers, in addition to select third-party servers.

Both systems support 12 SAS hard disk drives for 3.6TB of capacity and up to three EXP3000 enclosures for greater than 14.4TB of raw capacity that allow for the storage systems to scale up to 48 hard disk drives. In addition, these new systems are compatible with the DS4000 Storage Manager, providing IBM’s system architecture to grow with customer needs.

The combination of IBM’s System x and BladeCenter systems with the new IBM storage options offers clients a comprehensive way to help address both workgroup and departmental needs such as managing databases, e-mail and Web serving.

“The DS3000 is built using the same technology as the DS4000 but with a lower price point,” Tony Asaro, senior analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group in Milford, Mass., told eWEEK. “The DS4000 is one of the leading storage products in the market, and end users and channel partners alike have really embraced it. I suspect the same will be true of the DS3000.”

The DS3000 can be used for primary storage in smaller environments and as tier 2 storage for bigger environments, Asaro said.

“Since the DS3000 and DS4000 are built on the same technology, there is an advantage. If you are an expert in one solution, you will be in the other as well. Additionally, moving data between these systems should be easy,” Asaro said.

Pricing and availability

The IBM System Storage DS3000 Series will be available Jan. 30. The IBM System Storage DS3200 will start at a list price of $4,495, and the DS3400 will start at a list price of $6,495.

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