Sneak Peek: Intel's Storage Road Map Through Early 2007

Intel will be making a big push into storage over the next year with a range of NAS, SAN, and JBOD storage appliances for the system builder community.

March 30, 2006

3 Min Read
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Intel will be making a big push into storage over the next year with a wide range of NAS, SAN, and JBOD storage appliances for the system builder community, CRN has learned.

It's all part of a move by Intel to not only strengthen its storage offerings, but also strengthen its channel presence, said John Samborski, vice president of Ace Computers, an Arlington Heights, Ill.-based system builder.

"Intel is trying to strengthen the channel," Samborski said. "It's trying to not be tied to the Hewlett-Packards and the Dells of the world. Dell's a great Intel customer. But I'm sure Dell is trying to extract some kind of loyalty reward from Intel."

For many custom system solution providers, Intel offers them their first opportunity to get into the storage market, said Samborski. "There are a lot of people out there who didn't do servers before Intel brought out its server line," he said. "The same thing will happen with storage. Intel is a trusted brand. They have a lot of brand equity. You can't buy that kind of equity."

According to a copy Intel's storage roadmap viewed by CRN, Intel plans to follow its SSR212MA array, a 2U, 12-drive SAN appliance introduced late last year, with a new SAN appliance code-named Pyramid Peak. Pyramid Peak, expected to be released in the first half of this year, is slated to fit 12 SATA hard drives in a 2U enclosure for SMB customers.Early next year, Intel plans to introduce a follow-on to Pyramid Peak, code-named Wilson Peak, which includes room for up to 12 serial-attached SCSI (SAS) hard drives in a 2U enclosure, according to the roadmap.

On the NAS side, Intel's recently introduced Entry Storage System SS4000-E four-drive appliance for small businesses and remote branch offices is expected to be followed up with a new entry-level NAS appliance with two or four hard drives and aimed at SOHO and small business clients early next year.

Intel is not ignoring the market for JBOD storage arrays, which do not come with SAN or NAS software. The company has two JBOD arrays in the pipeline, according to the roadmap. They include Compass Creek, a 2U enclosure with up to 12 SATA II hard drives, and Petrof Bay, a 1U enclosure with up to eight 2.5-inch SAS and SATA drives. Both JBOD arrays are expected to be available in the first half of this year.

"SATA II" is a commonly used term to refer to a new crop of SATA hard drives that feature 3.0 Gbits/second throughput and a number of features that were included in the original SATA specifications but have only recently been implemented by hard drive vendors.

Intel executives declined to comment on the details of the company's storage roadmap except to say that the company does not discuss products that have yet to be released.Still, storage is a strategic part of Intel's business, said Seth Bobroff, director of marketing for the company's storage group. "We're seeing a huge data explosion being driven by government compliance and other issues," Bobroff said. "Storage is often driving other IT decisions."

A little over a year ago, Intel restructured itself around a platform focus, with storage being the platform to be finalized as the company brought storage elements from its components and embedded operations together, said Bobroff. "Now it's all been put under one roof, under one management," he said. "We have such a broad portfolio of products that a lot of companies don't realize that Intel Silicon is in a majority of storage products today, based on analyst reports."

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