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.
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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.