IBM Turbocharges Mid-Range Storage

A new FAStT 600 option boosts capacity and performance.
Posted August 26, 2003

Paul Shread

IBM has added an upgrade option for its entry-level TotalStorage FAStT 600 storage server that enables the server to scale up to more than twice its current capacity and increase performance by 66%.

The new "turbo" option will allow companies to start out small and scale to mid-range performance and capacity for less than the cost of competing products, says Bob Dalton, Big Blue's manager of mid-range disk storage. That's no small feat for a product that was already competitive.

"The FAStT 600 Turbo is a strong offering from IBM, and one that continues the strong lineage of the FAStT family of products," says Pete Gerr, research analyst at the Enterprise Storage Group.

The product is designed to provide competitive IOPS (I/O operations per second) performance for transaction-heavy applications like email or PeopleSoft, and also offers competitive bandwidth performance for big-block, throughput-intensive applications like streaming video, Gerr says. It also offers advanced software features such as FlashCopy (snapshot) and VolumeCopy (synchronous replication).

Together, those features make the FAStT600 Turbo "a very competitive product on price/performance/value," Gerr says. "That is, excellent performance depending on the applications, with advanced data protection features at a competitive price. Package that with IBM service and support, and offer it with attractive financing packages, and it's a very strong story. In the SME (small and medium enterprise) market, it matches or surpasses most of the features of competitive offerings from EMC/CLARiiON or HP, but price/performance/value is the real decision-maker in that segment when all 'speeds and feeds' are nearly equal."

The base FAStT 600 will also be getting a boost, from 42-drive scalability to 56, and from 6.1 terabytes to 8. The price will stay the same, at just under $15,000.

At $26,570 for a customer-installable upgrade and starting at $36,569 for a fully-configured storage server, the turbo option can double that capacity to 16.4 terabytes and 112 drives, according to Dalton, and boost IOPS from 45,500 to 75,500. The turbo option will be generally available on Sept. 12.

The turbo option also has a host interface that senses whether 1 or 2 Gbps Fibre Channel technology is being used. With the other new features, including quadrupled cache and partition activation, the FAStT 600 Turbo approaches the performance of the mid-range FAStT 700, which starts at about $45,000, but offers greater performance and scalability, Dalton reports.

"As their business grows, they can add to their investment and double the scalability," says Dalton. "From a price-performance perspective, it's a very good buy."

The turbo option will feature IBM's FlashCopy and VolumeCopy capabilities to protect businesses in the event of a disaster. IBM says its FlashCopy software provides an advanced, fast replication facility that reduces application outages caused by backups, and permits access to source data and the copy almost immediately in the event of an unplanned outage. The new VolumeCopy software features a duplication facility that can permit access to duplicate data almost immediately in the event of an outage, according to Big Blue.

The turbo option will also ship with FAStT Storage Manager version 8.4.

The FAStT storage server line, with offerings ranging from the entry-level 200 to the enterprise-class 900, is IBM's fastest-growing storage product line, with 111% year-to-year and 36% quarter-to-quarter growth.

IBM also announced 31 new additions to the IBM TotalStorage Proven program. The TotalStorage Proven program helps identify storage solutions and configurations for customers that have been pre-tested for interoperability. Some of the latest partners to certify solutions with the FAStT line include Actuate, Business Objects, Cisco Systems, deCODE, Verint's Loronix Video Solution, and Polyserve.

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