IBM Kicks Up Midrange Storage

Big Blue rolls out 'turbo' option for FastT 600 array, as LSI partnership continues to pay off

August 26, 2003

2 Min Read
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IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) is rolling out a "turbo" option for its recently introduced midrange FastT 600 storage system, as Big Blue's partnership with LSI Logic Storage Systems Inc. -- which manufactures the FastT line of subsystems -- continues to yield dividends.

The turbo option, according to IBM, more than doubles the capacity of the current FastT 600 and boosts its speed between 40 and 70 percent, at a lower price than similarly configured products from other vendors. The enhanced system provides up to 16 Tbytes with 112 drives (compared with a previous maximum of 6 Tbytes with 42 drives) (see IBM Intros FastT Turbo Option).

As far as performance, IBM claims the turbo upgrade, which uses new controllers from LSI, improves out-of-cache performance from 45,500 I/O operations per second (IOPS) to 75,500 IOPS. IBM rolled out the FastT 600 in April as a replacement for its entry-level 200 system (see HP, IBM Muscle Up Midrange).

The FastT 600 turbo, slated to be generally available Sept. 12, will be priced starting at $26,570 for a customer-installable upgrade to an existing 600, and $36,569 for a fully configured system through an IBM reseller.

"You almost have enterprise-type performance in a subsystem that would normally be considered entry level," says Ron Johnson, senior partner at the Evaluator Group, a storage consulting firm. "IBM's done an excellent job with the FastT family."The FastT600 turbo option includes new data management features, including IBM's FlashCopy point-in-time replication software and VolumeCopy full-copy software that provides access to a duplicate data set in the event of an outage. The new VolumeCopy software is also available as a priced upgrade for the FastT 700 and 900.

Harold Pike, worldwide product marketing manager for midrange FastT, notes that IBM will charge customers about $3,000 to upgrade to the latest 8.4 firmware for the storage systems. That upgraded firmware provides support for up to 256 logical unit numbers (LUNs) per partition, improves cache-mirroring performance, and provides support for RAID configurations greater than 2 Tbytes.

IBM says the FastT is its fastest-growing storage product line, with sales more than doubling year-over-year and growing 36 percent quarter-to-quarter.

Todd Spangler, US Editor, Byte and Switch

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