IBM unveils high-end, midrange storage arrays

IBM this week brought out upgrades to its high-end and midrange storage arrays, along with a new line of high-end appliance and gateway storage offerings manufactured by Network Appliance.

Analysts said IBM also plans to update its tape offerings soon. Roger Cox, a Gartner analyst who was briefed by IBM on the tape plans, said the company expects to add tape virtualization capabilities to its mainframe systems and encryption capabilities to the TS1120 high-capacity tape drive.

IBM declined to discuss its plans for the tape drives.

Bob Venable, enterprise systems manager at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, said that adding encryption capabilities to the TS 1120 tape drive will let his organization meet the requirements of privacy laws. Venable said that the new capabilities will also help the Chattanooga-based insurer meet its plan to eventually encrypt every piece of media that goes off-site.

The new high-end disk array unveiled this week, the IBM System Storage DS8000 Turbo, features 4Gbit/sec. Fibre Channel connectivity throughput -- double the 2Gbit/sec. available now, according to IBM.

The Turbo line runs on IBM's Power5 microprocessors, which the company said boosts performance by 15 percent over older DS8000 models.

IBM also upgraded its midrange DS6000 array by adding support for Fibre Channel ATA drives and IBM's replication software.

Venable said that he expects the performance boost of the new Turbo system to top 15 percent. "Fifteen percent doesn't really unroll your socks, but people could get better performance than that," he said.

Venable said he is hoping to replace three older DS8000 models with the new Turbo drives.

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee doubles its storage capacity every year, according to Venable. The company currently stores about 300TB of data, he said.

Venable said BlueCross BlueShield was less interested in the upgraded DS6000s because it believes the DS8000s are more reliable. He noted that the insurer is considering replacing its low-end IBM DS4100 arrays with DS8000s.

IBM also furthered its relationship with NetApp with the unveiling of the System Storage N7000 series. NetApp will manufacture the new models for IBM, which are the same as the FAS6030 and FAS6070 models NetApp announced in May.

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