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Amdahl offers GR730 and GR740 storage systems

This document provides an overview of the Amdahl GR Storage Systems announcement made on October 30, 2001. Amdahl IT Services announced availability of two storage systems, the GR730 and the GR740. Amdahl is a major provider of professional services and enabling services in North America and Europe.

Announcement highlights

On October 30, 2001 Amdahl announced two storage systems, the GR730 and the GR740. These products are from Amdahl's parent company Fujitsu and have been sold in the Asia-Pacific market for well over a year. These products will carry the Fujitsu label but offered by the Amdahl services organizations in both North America and Europe. Currently, 4 petabytes in 2,500 systems at 1,400 customers have been installed in Asia-Pacific and a small number have already been installed in the United States. These storage systems are targeted for companies with large heterogeneous storage requirements and may be used in Storage Area Network configurations or as direct attached storage. The largest configuration can have up to 16.0TB of raw capacity.

The two models of the GR series are different both in size/performance and in functionality. Both products feature high performance and connectivity to open systems but the GR740 also has the feature to allow for connection to S/390 system over ESCON. The storage systems have an optional point-in-time copy capability called One Point Copy. The GR740 has an optional remote copy

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capability called Equivalent Copy that supports both synchronous and asynchronous copy modes over a Fibre Channel interface.

GR storage system characteristics

  • A maximum of sixteen 100MB/s Fibre Channel ports that can operate in switched fabric, point-to-point or arbitrated loop modes
  • Support for failover with server-based failover software
  • Support for up to 10Km with 9 micron fiber or 500m with 50 micron fibre connections
  • Host resource sharing and access security with a LUN masking implementation called Host Affinity
  • Centralized management for GR storage system with web-based management software
  • Support for RAID 1, 5, and 0/1 with global hot spare disks
  • RAID group sizes of 4 to 32 for RAID 0/1 and 3 to 16 for RAID 5
  • Hot swappable components and redundant AC power input
  • Block level data protection with error detection codes added to every block of data in the system
  • Duplexed write cache with battery backup and ECC protection. On power loss, data is written from cache to reserved disk areas and restored to cache upon power-up
  • Redundant Fibre Channel loops to each disk device
  • Support for intermix of 18, 36, and 73GB disks

GR730 storage system specific features

  • Dual, active controllers supported
  • Up to 4 Fibre Channel host connections available
  • Up to 3.5GB of cache
  • Up to 80 disk drives with two Fibre Channel loop pairs (maximum of 40 per loop pair). The minimum is 8 disk drives
  • Maximum raw capacity of 1.3TB (18GB disks), 2.6TB (36GB), or 5.3TB (73GB)
  • Support for 128 logical volumes, LUNs (8 for RAID 1 groups or 16 for RAID 0/1 and RAID 5 groups)
  • Optional point-in-time copy feature called One Point Copy with control and management over the web interface by SystemWalker/StorageMGR software

GR740 storage system specific features

  • Two to four controllers supported in a configuration
  • Up to 16 Fibre Channel or ESCON connections
  • Up to 32GB of cache
  • Up to 240 disk drives with four Fibre Channel loop pairs (maximum of 60 per loop pair). The minimum is 8 disk drives)
  • Maximum raw capacity of 3.9TB (18GB disks), 7.9TB (36GB), or 16.0TB (73GB)
  • Support for up to 4,096 logical OS/390 devices and 4,096 logical devices (LUNs)
  • Support of emulation of up to sixteen 3990-6 control units in an OS/390 attachment
  • OS/390 device emulation of 3380-E/J/K, and 3390-1/2/3 models
  • Optional point-in-time copy feature called One Point Copy with control and management over the web interface by SystemWalker/StorageMGR software
  • Optional remote copy in synchronous or asynchronous mode over Fibre Channel with a feature called Equivalent Copy
  • CacheLOCK capability on OS/390 attachment to create a volume that is resident in cache
  • Variable volume sizes for OS/390 volumes (variable sizes for LUNs is standard as well)

Evaluator Group comments:

This is a very impressive product announcement for Amdahl IT Services. These products have some of the very important features that provide customer value today and are targeted at the heterogeneous consolidation business. Additionally, the GR740 offers an option that was previously only available on large, cache-centric offerings, mainframe attachment. The mainframe attachment makes sense from the standpoint that Fujitsu still has a very large business for mainframes in Asia-Pacific and Amdahl can offer that same feature on the distributed storage product with the expected cost economics. The mainframe feature appears to be a full-function implementation with no limitations.

The strategy for Amdahl IT Services is to offer the GR series storage products as part of their services business. Amdahl has professional services and enabling services. The enabling services is the delivery vehicle where the GR series would be the storage offering to customers. Combined the software such as the Softek Virtualization solution, the GR series could be a successful solution sale for the services organization. The focus on their sales will probably be on the Solaris operating system base where much of the business of Amdahl is done.

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This was first published in November 2001

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