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3PAR Aims for Midsection

Formerly an enterprise play, 3PAR moves into highly competitive midrange

3PAR, which has carved a niche selling high-end enterprise SANs to storage-hungry online companies, is moving into the midrange. (See Top Ten Private Companies: Spring 2006.)

3PAR today launched the InServ E200, a dual-controller midrange version of 3PARs enterprise S400 and S800 systems. The E200 supports from 16 to 128 drives and from 2 Tbytes to 63 Tbytes with either Fibre Channel or lower-cost Fibre-attached ATA (FATA) drives. The new system is substantially smaller than the vendor's existing S400, which scales to four nodes and 1,280 drives, or the S800, which supports eight nodes and 2,560 drives.

But the E200 uses the same operating system as the S400 and S800, and it includes identical features such as thin provisioning for configuring capacity, virtual copy and remote copy for replication, and dynamic optimization for converting data volumes from one service level to another. It also supports the iSCSI capability 3PAR recently added to its enterprise boxes. (See 3PAR Joins IP SAN Party.) The E200 supports up to four iSCSI ports.

Pricing for an E200 Storage Server with 2.3 Tbytes of capacity and four Fibre Channel ports starts at around $65,000.

By moving into the midrange, 3PAR enters the fastest growing but most competitive SAN market segment. 3PAR’s previous systems were aimed just below enterprise systems such as EMC Symmetrix, Hitachi Data Systems TagmaStore, and IBM’s DS8000. Scott says 3PAR mostly competes against EMC's CX3-80 -- the highest end of EMC's midrange Clariion platform. Now it will go against EMC’s entire Clariion family as well as other major vendors’ midrange offerings.

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