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SNW: Small, SAS-sy & Safe

SMB systems, SAS, security, and 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel will be common themes next week at the Storage Networking World trade show in San Diego. Here's a rundown:

SMB systems. EMC and its partner Dell next week will launch the new low-end versions of their Clariion family for SMBs -- called the AX150 and AX150i. (See EMC, Dell Get Small With SATA and EMC Mounts iSCSI Blitz). The companies are waiting until Monday to make it official, but product data sheets reveal the major changes to the new AX150 over the AX100 rolled out last year are the inclusion of SATA II instead of SATA drives and a tad more software functionality.

Besides SATA II features such as 3-Gbit/s interfaces and native command queuing, new larger capacity drives allow the AX150 to scale to 6 Tbytes. (See SATA Speeds Up.) Like the AX100, the new systems come in single- and dual-controller configurations, and either 2-Gbit/s Fibre Channel (AX150) or iSCSI (AX150i) versions.

The major software change? The new systems will support up to eight snapshots -- up to four on the AX100. Pricing remains about the same, starting at slightly less than $6,000.

"Nothing earth-shattering here," says one analyst of the AX150 rollout. The AX150 remains a long way below the CX "Sledgehammer" platform that EMC is expected to revamp over the next few months with 4-Gbit/s and more iSCSI capabilities.

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