LSI, IBM expand midrange storage

Adoption of 4Gbps storage systems, which can enhance applications like streaming video and improve scalability, is still in the early stages

LSI Logic launched on Monday new midrange storage arrays with end-to-end 4Gbps Fibre Channel support for mid-sized businesses.

The launch echoes a similar move by EMC, which also on Monday released its new 4G bps Clariion UltraScale design that allows users to consolidate multiple storage tiers in one array and mix 2G bps and 4G bps disk drives with varying levels of speed and capacity.

Adoption of 4Gbps storage systems, which can enhance performance for bandwidth-intensive applications like streaming video as well as improve scalability, is still in the early stages, said Tony Asaro, a senior analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group in Milford, Massachusetts.

"4-gig is something everyone will eventually adopt; it will become the requisite interconnect for Fibre Channel SANs," Asaro said. "But it's not really a customer-driven thing at this point. Customers are not banging their hands on the table saying we need 4-gig."

LSI's new offerings expand the company's Engenio storage line for mid-market customers. The company introduced its first 4G bps storage system, the higher-end Engenio 6998, last year. The new systems allow administrators to intermix different disk drives and to commonly manage systems with the SANtricity Storage Manager software.

Among the new arrays is the Engenio 3994, which has up to eight 4G bps FC (Fibre Channel) host/SAN (storage-area network) interfaces, 4G bytes of cache memory and up to 16 FC or SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) II disk drives. It can directly connect to six more 4G bps FC drive modules to support up to 112 disk drives. Its lower-end sibling, the 3992, has four less host ports and 2GB less cache memory.

On the higher end, LSI rolled out the Engenio 6994, which is a scaled-down, lower-cost version of the high-end 6998 with less performance and cache. The 6994 has up to eight 4G bps FC host ports and supports up to 224 FC or SATA II disk drives.

LSI is also an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) for IBM Corp., which will ship in June its versions of the LSI Logic 3992 and 3994 arrays -- the IBM System Storage DS4700 Express Models 70 and 72, respectively, said the company Tuesday. Pricing for the IBM arrays starts at US$19,449.

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