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IBM aims to turbocharge storage

Big Blue is announcing upgrades for increased performance and greater capacity to a midrange storage product.

IBM says it's turbocharging a midrange data storage product.

On Tuesday, Big Blue will announce a retooled FastT600 Storage Server product and an optional upgrade that offers greater capacity, higher performance, and an additional data replication feature. The products are slated for release Sept. 12.

Borrowing from the lingo of automakers, IBM called the elective upgrade a "turbo option," and said its "pay as you grow" configuration is ideal for helping customers meet unexpected growth.

"IBM is seeing a strong demand for powerful products from our midmarket customers," Roland Hagan, vice president of storage marketing for IBM Systems Group, said in a statement. "We have continued our mission to deliver to customers quick and cost-effective storage solutions and upgrade options for their data management needs."

In the first quarter of 2003, the overall disk storage system market saw a year-over-year decline of 1 percent to $4.8 billion, according to research firm IDC.

But IBM said its FastT storage server line, with offerings ranging from the entry-level 200 model to the higher-end 900 model, is its fastest-growing storage product line.

The FastT600 is a disk storage device that can be attached directly to server computers or used as part of a storage area network, which is a system linking servers to storage resources typically used by large corporations.

The current version of the FastT600 can handle a total of 42 disk drives and does not support IBM's FlashCopy technology, which provides a snapshot of a data set. The coming basic FastT600 will be able to handle a total of 56 disk drives and includes the FlashCopy tool.

With the optional upgrade, customers will be able to use up to 112 drives for a maximum capacity of 16.4 terabytes. The upgrade includes an additional data replication tool, called VolumeCopy.

The forthcoming base FastT600 will allow for more than 45,000 cached input-outputs per second, IBM said. With the optional upgrade, the device will deliver more than 75,000 cached input-outputs per second, the company said.

The turbo option upgrade alone will be priced starting at $26,570, Big Blue said.

IBM storage devices compete against those from companies such as EMC and Hewlett-Packard.