IBM adds to midrange storage line

IBM has bolstered the midrange of its storage hardware line with the release of two new products that aim to improve on the speed and features of previous systems, the company announced Monday.

New to IBM's arsenal are the TotalStorage FAStT900 Storage Server and TotalStorage Ultrium 2 Tape Drive. Both products are designed to bring higher end technology to IBM's midrange line, which could be a boost to both medium-sized businesses and larger companies, said Roland Hagan, vice president of storage marketing in IBM's systems group.

The FAStT900 will start shipping on March 14 and will sit atop IBM's midrange line. The system comes with a new controller that boosts performance over the FAStT700 by as much as 120 percent, according to Hagan.

The server can store 36G bytes of information with an entry-level configuration and scale up to 32T bytes with a separate expansion unit. It also ships with software that will send alerts to administrators about hardware failures, and works with Microsoft Corp.'s Windows-based servers as well as Unix servers from IBM, Sun Microsystems Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co., Hagan said. The FAStT900 is priced at US$75,000 for a system with 150G bytes of storage capacity.

IBM began shipping the TotalStorage Ultrium 2 Tape Drive on Friday, in both the UltraScalable Tape Library 3584 and the Ultrium ExternalTape Drive 3580, Hagan said. The Ultrium 2 uses the second generation of the LTO (Linear Tape Open) standard for improving data storage performance.

The second-generation standard allowed IBM to double storage capacity from 100G byes in previous products to 200G bytes. In addition, the new tape drive comes with a sleep function that powers down the drive when it is not in use to help save on energy costs, Hagan said.

IBM also announced that it will start reselling Cisco Systems Inc.'s MDS family of switches for storage area networks on March 21 in the U.S., and shortly thereafter worldwide.

IBM competes against EMC Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Computer Corp. in the midrange storage market and against companies such as HP, Dell and StorageTek Inc. for tape products.

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