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IBM enhancements are excellent additions to its FAStT series

IBM enhancements are excellent additions to its FAStT series

IBM announced several enhancements to its FAStT Storage Server Family of distributed storage arrays. The enhancements include a new storage enclosure (EXP700 Expansion Unit), four new Fibre Channel 2 Gbps disk drive modules, a new PCI-X/133 MHz 2 Gbps Fibre Channel host bus adapter for attachment to Intel-based servers and FAStT support for the DataCore SANsymphony Release 5.0 virtualization software.

The EXP700 Expansion enclosure is 3U, 14-bay, 2 Gbps, rack-mountable Fibre Channel disk drive enclosure. The EXP700 can be used with the FAStT200, FAStT500 and FAStT700 distributed storage arrays. When integrated with the FAStT700, the EXP700 provides a full 2 Gbps (end-to-end) Fibre Channel solution. The EXP700 enclosure supports four new, low profile, dual-loop, dynamically replaceable disk drive modules; 18.2GB (15K rpm), 36.4GB (15K rpm), 36.4GB (10K rpm) and 73.4GB (10K rpm). A new PCI-X/133 MHz 2-Gbps Fibre Channel host bus adapter was introduced for attaching the FAStT series to IBM eServer xSeries and other Intel-based application servers.

Additionally, IBM announced FAStT storage server support in SANsymphony server configurations. Application server platforms supported are Windows NT/2000 and Solaris 2.6 or 2.7. IBM Global Services will support the SANsymphony implementations. Warranty will be provided by DataCore.

Availability for the announced enhancements was July 26, 2002.

Evaluator Group note:

The DataCore SANsymphony storage management software is a symmetrical pooling abstraction solution which allows heterogeneous server attachment to a common storage pool. Version 5.0 of the DataCore SANsymphony was announced in January 2002. The major elements included the ability to dynamically allocate capacity to LUNs that have been defined as maximum size to applications plus the incorporation of new management capabilities. The ability to dynamically allocate capacity while the operating system and application deal only with a maximum size LUN opens up tremendous new possibilities. Space can now be over-committed because only used space is needed while allocated but unused space is no longer wasted. A detailed analysis of the DataCore SANsymphony solution is located in the SAN Management Section of the ES/OL Data Base.

TotalStorage FAStT FC2-133 host bus adapter highlights

The FAStT FC2-133 host bus adapter is a half-length, low-profile, 64/32-bit PCI-X host adapter that can be installed in supported xSeries and other Intel-based application servers. It supports PCI-X architecture and is backward compatible to current PCI xSeries servers supporting 33, 66 and 133 MHz PCI. It is based on 2-Gbps Fibre Channel technology that can auto-sense and operate at 1-Gbps or 2-Gbps depending on the characteristics of the attaching Fibre Channel device. The FC2-133 is capable of hot plugging and being installed in servers without powering down. It supports point-to-point, FC-AL, FC-AL-2 and switched fabric topologies with single shortwave, LC-style connectors. It can be used to attach the FAStT700, FAStT500, FASTT200 and IBM TotalStorage FC switches.

Evaluator Group Comments:

The FAStT Series enhancements are excellent additions to IBM's distributed storage family. With the EXP700, IBM adds full 2 Gbps Fibre Channel support to the FAStT700 array. However, of more significance is the support of the FAStT family with the SANsymphony abstraction software. We have been advocating this support since IBM and DataCore entered into a reseller agreement. IBM now supports the ESS and FAStT Series for SAN consolidation solutions using SANsymphony. The FAStT series, in our opinion, is a superior choice for the SANsymphony solution. The FAStT arrays are significantly less expensive, can scale better, have equal RAS characteristics and offer greater performance. If IBM can put together a major sales effort behind this solution, they could dominate the heterogeneous SAN consolidation market.

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