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5/9/2006
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IBM Unveils New 4 Gbps Fibre Channel Arrays

IBM plays catch up, following similar introductions from EMC, NetApp, and LSI Logic.

IBM is following the introduction of 4Gbps Fibre Channel arrays by EMC, NetApp, and LSI Logic with one of its own.

The two new IBM System Storage DS4700 models, unveiled Tuesday, are its OEM version of LSI Logic's new array families, unveiled Monday.

IBM also confirmed Tuesday that it will OEM the new Network Appliance FAS6000 4-Gbps Fibre Channel arrays, which were introduced on Monday.

The DS4700 arrays are aimed at the midsize business space, said Craig Butler, disk, SAN, and NAS product marketing manager at IBM. The two models in the new family scale to up to 112 hard drives, and differ mainly in the amount of cache memory in the controller.

The new DS4700s are replacing IBM's current DS4300 family, said Butler. IBM is keeping its DS4800 family, which feature 4-Gbps Fibre Channel and scale to 224 hard drives, he said.

The DS4700 family competes with EMC's new Clariion CX3-20, while the DS4800s sit in between EMC's new CX3-40 and CX3-80, said Butler. The CX3 family was also introduced on Monday.

While the DS4700 and DS4800 fill out IBM's midrange storage offerings with 4-Gbps Fibre Channel arrays, IBM also plans to expand its enterprise-class offerings with NetApp's new FAS6000 family, Butler said.

The FAS6000 arrays will not replace IBM's current DS6000 and DS8000 family, but instead will be offered to customers working with a variety of storage protocols, Butler said. "It's neat for customers with fewer users who want to put NAS and SAN users on the same box," Butler said.

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