IBM moved back into the iSCSI (Internet SCSI) market Friday with a new array priced at US$3,000 and aimed at the small and midsize business market.
The TotalStorage DS300 and its Fibre Channel companion, the DS400, are aimed at the same low-end space other vendors have been targeting lately. EMC, for instance, released its low-priced Clariion AX-100 array in May, although they have not offered an iSCSI-based system yet.
"This shows the impact of this mid-tier market," said Charles King, an analyst at The Sageza Group. "This is just more evidence that higher-end capabilities are continuing to move down in more affordable packages. This is where the action is, and iSCSI is one way vendors will be addressing the market," he said.
IBM officials say that having the new arrays use the same management system as IBM's higher end products is a real savings for IT systems. "The fact that we've got a whole family that uses the same management infrastructure helps companies lower their overall storage costs," said Rich Lechner, vice president of IBM storage systems.
The TotalStorage DS400, the Fibre Channel version, starts at US$5,000 for a two-controller version with 5TB of disk storage.
The two systems are part of the TotalStorage DS family, which IBM is positioning for its eServer xSeries and BladeCenter rackable system. The iSCSI protocol is cheaper than most Fibre Channel products because it allows users to build SANs using gigabit Ethernet networks. Fibre Channel requires users to use more expensive Fibre Channel technology.
Although IBM is the first top-tier vendor to offer an iSCSI system currently, EMC and Hewlett-Packard have hinted they will offer systems based on the technology in the near future. IBM is also replacing its FASiT midrange storage brand with the TotalStorage DS name and will do the same for its Enterprise Storage Server high-end arrays later this year, said Lechner. IBM had released an iSCSI product in June 2001, but analysts said it was overpriced and too early for the market.