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IBM unpacks new storage gear

Big Blue says its expected storage products will offer customers better performance at a lower cost.

NEW YORK--IBM has introduced two new storage products that the company said provides customers with better performance at a lower cost.

On Tuesday at a press conference here, the company announced the DS8000, a high-end disk array, and the DS6000, a midrange storage device. As reported earlier, the products use technology developed for IBM's Power microprocessor server and its mainframe products. By re-using this technology, the company has greatly reduced the cost of the products while dramatically increasing performance.

The DS8000 delivers six times the performance of the earlier version of that product, according to Dan Colby, general manager of storage networking for IBM. The product can handle over 96 petabytes of data--or more than 4,500 times the amount of information found in the Library of Congress. The DS8000 also includes virtualization capabilities that allow customers to consolidate workloads running on smaller systems onto a single box.

The midrange DS6000, which is roughly the size of a VCR, is an ultracompact storage array that delivers capabilities found in higher-end products, even though it is smaller and has a much lower cost. A comparable product from competitor EMC is up to 20 times larger and twice as expensive, Colby said. The DS6000 offers 580 gigabytes of storage capacity and can reach up to 67.2 terabytes.

The two products fill a gap in IBM's storage portfolio, between its high-end products and ones in the low end. IBM's goal with these new products was to improve performance, but also to keep costs down for customers.

The company designed the products to be more modular. For example, the DS6000 can be easily added to storage clusters when capacity increases. The devices could also be used for disaster recovery. Customers could mirror data sitting on a DS8000 at company headquarters on several DS6000's located in remote locations.

"Allowing customers to add new pieces incrementally means that they don't have to overspend on technology," said Marc Farley, an author and specialist in storage area networking. "They can buy what they need, when they need it."

The list price of the DS6000 begins at $97,000 for a base configuration, and the DS8000 lists for about $260,000. IBM has extended the warranty on these products from three years to four years. Some competitors offer only two-year warranties.

"Cost is always important when you're making equipment decisions," said Peter Poleto, deputy director of computing for the New York State Office for Technology. "And the extended warranty is important. It gives us another year before we start depreciating the gear equipment, which lowers the total cost of ownership of the devices."

In other storage networking news, competitor EMC announced it is acquiring Dantz Development, a privately held supplier of backup and recovery software for small and midsize companies. The cash transaction is valued at less than $50 million.