Dell prepares to slash San prices

Dell is to deliver cheaper storage area network systems to attract SMEs that do not want the expense of existing Fibre Channel...

Dell is to deliver cheaper storage area network systems to attract SMEs that do not want the expense of existing Fibre Channel gear.

"We are working on a program for a sub-entry platform that will continue to drive cost out of entry-level San configurations," said  Russ Holt, vice president enterprise engineering in Dell's Product Group. Holt declined to give more details about the future product as it has yet to be announced officially.

Two weeks ago, Dell announced delivery of EMC's three new Clariion arrays and its manufacture of the low-end CX300. Dell will now introduce another product below that, backing up speculative reports of an EMC CX100 which would have a lower capacity than the CX300's maximum 13.4TB but still using ATA drives.

"Dell is developing new next-generation disc storage arrays that employ Serial ATA," said Holt. "Recently, customers have requested Serial ATA storage arrays that employ external array-based Raid - as opposed to host-based Raid.

"Responding to these requests, Dell will introduce a Dell/EMC Serial ATA disc storage array (known as the AX100) with integrated array-based Raid in Q2 of CY2004. We expect other major OEMs to introduce competing offerings roughly at the same time."

Holt added that aligning with the San platform is delivery of a low-cost HBA solution and a low-cost switch solution, giving amuch lower cost-of entry for complete Sans. He said the arrival of Serial ATA discs was a driving factor.

Dell has reduced the cost/GB of San storage by 70% since it started selling products in late 2001. It wants to drive cost out of the San infrastructure and sees viable alternative suppliers for HBAs - such as Emulex and QLogic - and switches (Brocade Communications Systems and McData).

Chris Mellor writes for

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