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IBM Expands 4-Gbit/s & Backup

IBM will modify its midrange SAN systems over the next few weeks with a 4-Gbit/s expansion enclosure and a disk-based backup application for Microsoft Exchange.

IBM became the first major storage vendor to ship 4-Gbit/s SANs when it launched the DS4800 last June as part of a midrange platform it sells through an OEM deal with LSI Logics Engenio storage division. (See IBM Drives 4-Gbit/s and IBM Ships Engenio-Based 4G FC.) Next week, the vendor will add a 16-bay disk enclosure that adds up to 48 Tbytes to the DS4800. A switch on the enclosure allows customers to select either 2-Gbit/s or 4-Gbit/s speeds.

According to Harold Pike, IBM product manager for midrange storage, the new enclosure is part of IBM’s transition to end-to-end 4-Gbit/s systems. IBM will add 4-Gbit/s dual-controller HBAs from Emulex and QLogic for its pSeries servers in April and begin rolling out 4-Gbit/s hard drives in May or June. By the end of the year, Pike expects to offer 4-Gbit/s support for IBM's higher-end midrange system, the DS6000, and the DS8000 systems.

“We said all along our move to four-gig will be an evolution, not a revolution,” Pike reports. “By June we will have a complete end-to-end four-gig solution. To me, end to end is starting at the server and going out to the disk system, expansion unit, and the hard disk drives.”

Most of its competitors claimed IBM was too early with its 4-Gbit/s system last year because the other components -- switches, HBAs, and disk drives -- weren’t widely available.

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