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IBM's New Shark Tale

NEW YORK -- IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) today introduced the replacement to its Shark mainframe storage system, with a new type of virtualization that one Big Blue executive said gives the company "bragging rights" over competitors EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS).

IBM unveiled the DS8000 enterprise system and the DS6000 modular high-end midrange controller, about a month after HDS unveiled its TagmaStore high-end system (see Hitachi Struts Mr. Universal). EMC refreshed its Symmetrix line in February (see EMC Hits Hardware Refresh). IBM's systems will be generally available Dec. 3.

"This gives us the bragging rights," boasted IBM's storage systems GM, Dan Colby, about his new products.

The DS8000, based on IBM's 64-bit Power5 processor, will replace the Shark. The system will originally be available in two-way and four-way controller configurations, with an eight-way version planned for next year and a 12-way system possibly down the road.

IBM's DS8000 handles virtualization different than the competition. While HDS does virtualization in the controller and EMC plans virtualization on intelligent switches, IBM's new system does virtualization at the chip level (see EMC on Virtualization: Wait for Us). Using the Power5's IBM Virtual Engine, the DS800 can divide servers into logical partitions (LPARs). Each LPAR can run different storage systems that run separate code.

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