Dell has launched a storage area network to allow small and medium-sized firms to adopt fibre channel technology for just £6,000.
Dell has joined storage giant EMC and fibre channel switch specialist Brocade to launch the Dell/EMC AX100 storage array system that can be implemented by companies using simple wizard instructions.
Roger Cox, an analyst at Gartner, said, "The SME market and distributed elements of large enterprises represent a very large untapped opportunity for the deployment of low-cost and easy to install Sans - suppliers that focus on this area will find a highly receptive user community."
Many firms have been put off adopting Sans because of complicated set-up procedures and a lack of integration. Many entry-level Sans have also had price tags of £50,000 and up.
Darren Thomas, vice-president and general manager of Dell’s storage business, said, "This is a watershed in the evolution of storage. We have made it easy for small workgroups and businesses to enjoy the benefits of a fully shared storage solution."
Dell is not the first firm with Sans for SMEs. DataCore recently launched a cut-price San software system that allows firms to use a standard PC for storage instead of a dedicated storage array system. The Sanmelody software allows companies to partition sections of the hard disc to store corporate data, or turn a PC into a dedicated storage server.
Dell and EMC’s move into the SME market is bound to be followed by the likes of IBM and Hewlett-Packard, particularly as commercial iSCSI San products are now available. ISCSI is a cheap alternative to fibre channel-based Sans and relies on IP technology to transport data via Ethernet-based switches instead of proprietary fibre channel ones.
What’s in the Dell/EMC AX100 San
- 2U rack unit with up to 12 drives, providing storage capacities ranging from 480Gbytes to 3Tbytes
- Eight-port Brocade Silkworm 3250 switch
- QLogic QLA 200 fibre channel host bus adapters
- Wizard-driven installation and management tools
- Support for Windows, Linux and Novell Netware
- Bundled management software for provisioning, automated fail-over and snap-shot capability.