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IBM Beefs Up Storage Arrays

The DR550 arrays, now with twice the performance of the old models, are aimed at storing data in a nonerasable, nonalterable format for compliance purposes.

IBM is enhancing its DR550 family of storage arrays for storing and securing regulated and non-regulated data, in a move to make them more competitive with EMC's Centera compliance appliance.

The DR550 arrays are aimed at storing data in a non-erasable, non-alterable format for compliance purposes, said Alan Stuart, chief strategist for IBM data retention solutions.

Sales of solutions based on the DR550 are being driven by the need to save data for ever longer periods of time, and the fact that tiered storage is the only way to maintain data that will typically be kept for longer than the storage media is expected to last, Stuart said.

The DR550 family is built around the IBM pSeries server, and can be configured with a combination of SCSI and SATA drive technologies, said Stuart. A complete compliance solution including tape for archiving can be configured for under $40,000, he said.

Starting this week, IBM is doubling the performance of both the single-server DR550SS and the dual-server DR550DS models with the addition of IBM's new Power5 Plus dual-core processors.

IBM is also supporting the DR550 family with support for asynchronous replication of data to allow system administrators a choice of metro-area replication for performance or long-distance replication, he said.

Also new is a rack offering for the DR550 Express, the entry-level version of the DR550 family.

Stuart said IBM is offering a new set of service offerings through IBM Global Services and its channel partners that includes such services as installation, break-fix and firmware updating.

One IBM solution provider, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that the DR550 is a good product, but that sales have been slow because IBM has not done a good job marketing the product.

The solution provider said he has no doubt that the DR550 does well against competition such as EMC's Centera and Hewlett-Packard's RISS appliance. "But it comes back to, how to sell it to the customer," the solution provider said. ”We need to say, here's how it makes sense to you, here's the ROI. IBMers sometimes forget to think like a customer. IBM's blade servers are doing very well because customers understand what it means to them."

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