Apple Ships Upgraded Xserve RAID

Apple on Tuesday released an updated Xserve RAID storage system with beefed-up storage capacity that the company said slashes the product???s cost per gigabyte.

September 14, 2005

3 Min Read
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Apple Tuesday released an updated Xserve RAID with beefed-up storage capacity that the company said slashes the product’s cost per gigabyte.

The 3U rack storage system now provides up to 7 terabytes of storage and comes in 1-Tbyte, 3.5-Tbyte and 7-Tbyte configurations, according to Apple. At the same time, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company kept the Xserve RAID’s starting price at $5,999, the same as when the product made its debut in February 2003.

“We were able to deliver this upgrade without changing the price. So essentially for our customers, it’s basically $1.86 per gigabyte for this high level of storage,” said Alex Grossman, senior director of hardware, servers and storage at Apple. The previous iteration of the Xserve RAID offered a cost per Gbyte of $2.32, he said.

At under $2 per Gbyte of storage, the enhanced Xserve RAID beats the cost of comparable storage from Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Sun Microsystems, Apple said on its Web site.

“From a value standpoint, storage is just growing in capacity every year. People always need more storage. This [new Xserve RAID] gives them the ability to meet their needs,” Grossman said. “One of the problems is that budgets are shrinking and storage needs are growing. So we think that we are definitely at an industry-leading price here.”The new Xserve RAID can accommodate up to 14 500-Gbyte Ultra ATA Apple Drive Modules. It also features dual independent RAID controllers, each with 512 Mbytes of cache, that offer sustained throughput of more than 385 Mbytes per second. The Xserve RAID is certified to run in Mac OS X, Windows, NetWare, SUSE and Red Hat Linux environments, according to the company.

In June, Apple upgraded the Xserve RAID’s firmware to give the product’s existing users the ability to support the extra capacity, Grossman said.

The Xserve RAID costs $5,999 for the 1-Tbyte standard configuration, $8,499 for the 3.5-Tbyte version and $12,999 for the top-of-the-line 7-Tbyte solution.

Also on Tuesday, Apple upgraded the storage capacity of its Xserve 1U rack-mount server by allowing it to accept up to three 500-Gbyte drives, for a total of 1.5 Tbytes of storage. The Xserve previously held up to three 400-Gbyte drives, Grossman said. The Xserve’s starting price remains unchanged at $2,999.

Apple said that over the past two years, it has shipped 76 petabytes of Xserve RAID storage. The company has been working with solution providers to target its Xserve RAID, Xserve and Xsan SAN systems at vertical markets such as publishing, professional video, small and midsize business, education and high-performance computing, according to Grossman.“We have a large VAR network for Xserve and Xserve RAID, and they can deliver them to their customers in a lot of different environments,” he said. “We help support VARs with service programs all the way from service parts kits that they can buy and self-service their customers to AppleCare service programs that they can resell.”

Apple also offers a Gold Medallion reseller program in which solution providers can go through a full Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) certification and become experts in deploying the Xsan, Grossman added.

“This gives them the ability to not only know the file system but also the Xserves and Xserve RAIDs,” he said. “The channel loves the idea of putting out more storage, and as storage grows with Xserve RAIDs, they can just add additional storage and meet [customers’] needs across a wide variety of applications.”

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