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IBM Debuts Low-End SANs

IBM thinks storage suppliers have been misreading the signals from small enterprises, and its latest SAN is aimed at correcting the problem.

"A lot of companies do a 'bait and switch' with smaller companies, introducing half-sized products at half price, then trying to sell them larger systems," says Harold Pike, IBM worldwide product marketing manager for the DS4000 series of midrange storage arrays. "These single-controller systems aren't selling."

Just because a company is small and price-conscious doesn't mean it's storage-ignorant, Pike insists. "Companies that are small actually know storage well."

To hear Pike tell it, SMBs or SMEs haven't been getting their fair share from SAN makers, who assume these customers simply get on the Web and buy the cheapest system they can find. But IBM has learned its lesson, he says. It is replacing the low-end of its DS4000 midrange SANs with a version that matches enterprise functions but is priced for smaller firms.

The DS4200 Express Model, based on LSI gear, is a standard dual-controller SATA storage array supporting 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel at capacities of up to 56 Tbytes. Its predecessor, the DS4100, featured one controller with an optional dual controller and supported 2-Gbit/s Fibre Channel at capacities to 44 Tbytes with an expansion unit. Announced today, the DS4200 Express will be generally available August 25.

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