IBM Pushing 4G-Bps Storage

By Brian Fonseca  |  Posted 2005-04-25 Print this article Print

IBM is responding to the escalating capacity and performance challenges plaguing many midrange storage customers by embracing the benefits of 4G-bps Fibre Channel interface technology.

IBM is responding to the escalating capacity and performance challenges plaguing many midrange storage customers by embracing the benefits of 4G-bps Fibre Channel interface technology.

Next month IBM will announce its IBM TotalStorage DS4800 disk array storage product. To be available in June, the newest member of IBMs TotalStorage DS4000 Series—renamed last year from FAStT (Fibre Array Storage Technology)—will feature 4G-bps connectivity and greater cache sizes, enabling higher performance and boosted bandwidth capabilities, said Harold Pike, worldwide product manager for Midrange Disk Systems at IBM, in Armonk, N.Y.

"Were going to revise the entire DS4000 Series. [The DS4800] is only the beginning," said Pike. "All the TotalStorage products that will be coming out this year and going into next year will be 4 G bps."

The DS4800 is being constructed using Engenio Information Technologies Inc.s 6998 storage controller and associated Engenio software running on the IBM array.

The 6998 storage system enables seamless integration with existing 1G-bps or 2G-bps infrastructures to promote scalability within existing SAN (storage area network) environments. In addition, the modular 6998 offers a 550,000-I/O-per-second cache rate and can support up to 224 drives. Engenio expects to add 4G-bps support across its entire product portfolio by the end of this year, said officials of the Milpitas, Calif., company.

Although many storage customers have yet to embrace full-speed 4G-bps connectivity, concerns such as the availability of critical data center applications, storage-tier movement, recovery from disk-to-disk scenarios and replication needs across large distances could fuel adoption, say analysts.

Storage hardware offerings featuring Engenios 6998 controller include Storage Technology Corp.s FlexLine FLX380 and Silicon Graphics Inc.s InfiniteStorage TP9700.

Andy Tran, chief technology officer for Pacific Title and Art Studio, in Hollywood, Calif., deployed the 4G-bps-enabled SGI InfiniteStorage TP9700 two months ago and said his SAN infrastructures performance is up to 1.5 times faster now.

"We are in a transition period again for the movie studios. In the last few years, weve been doing 2K resolution for a full feature, which takes 2TB of data, but were slowly moving forward to a 4K resolution. That makes up to 8TB per movie, so we need all the room we can get," said Tran. "Youre only making it more difficult to manage that data if you have slow bandwidth."

Tran said he foresees 4G bps gaining a foothold as storage capacity pressures continue to mount.

"I know its been a slow adoption, but I believe more people will go to 4G bps because the volume of data out there is enormous and everyone is always looking for faster and better," Tran said.

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on enterprise and small business storage hardware and software.
Brian Fonseca is a senior writer at eWEEK who covers database, data management and storage management software, as well as storage hardware. He works out of eWEEK's Woburn, Mass., office. Prior to joining eWEEK, Brian spent four years at InfoWorld as the publication's security reporter. He also covered services, and systems management. Before becoming an IT journalist, Brian worked as a beat reporter for The Herald News in Fall River, Mass., and cut his teeth in the news business as a sports and news producer for Channel 12-WPRI/Fox 64-WNAC in Providence, RI. Brian holds a B.A. in Communications from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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