Dell Debuts Storage Solution For Small Companies

The deck was stacked, of course, as the occasion was Dell's announcement of the MD3000i storage area network (SAN) array.
Sitting in a ballroom in a fancy San Francisco hotel this morning, an audience of IT folks from small and midsize companies raised their hands to confirm that storage and backup were their biggest concerns for the coming year.

The deck was stacked, of course, as the occasion was Dell's announcement of the MD3000i storage area network (SAN) array.Along with the suit-and-tie-clad gathering, I listened to a slightly graying Michael Dell extol the importance of storage.

He claimed that in 2007, computer users will for the first time create more data than we can store. And he cited studies showing that only 20% of small businesses and a third of midsize companies have adequate storage.

"It's a budget problem," Dell said, because 75% of smaller companies say their IT operations are cost constrained. And "it's a skills problem," because many storage solutions require specialized skills to maintain and deploy.

The answer, he said, was the new PowerVault MD3000i iSCSI SAN. Unlike existing options for smaller companies, it's not a rudimentary consumer solution, it's not a costly enterprise solution, and it's not a stripped-down vesion of an enterprise solution that still hard to manage.

Based on commonplace iSCSI technology and using existing ethernet networking, the MD3000i was designed from scratch to work with Dell servers so that "a non-IT pro can manage it" and not require software license upgrades as it scales.

The product will be significantly cheaper than existing alternatives, Dell said. Fully configured with 7 drives, the MD3000i costs about $13,000 vs. $15000 for the nearest competitor with the price delta increasing as more drives are added. The system can handle up to 45 drives with 18 terabytes of storage.

Famous for selling direct to end users, Dell will also distribute the MD3000i through resellers. And according to CRN, the new product is being well received by the reseller community.

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