Apple Updates Xserve RAID Storage System

The system's maximum storage capacity is increased to 7TB, bringing the per-gigabyte cost down, Apple says.

Apple on Tuesday released an updated version of its 3U Xserve RAID storage system, upping its maximum storage capacity from 5.6TB to 7TB without an increase from the previous models $12,999 price.

This brings the per-gigabyte cost down to $1.86, Apple said. Apple Computer Inc. is also offering 1TB and 3.5TB models, priced at $5,999 and $8,499.

Apple also announced that it has increased the maximum storage capacity of its 1U Xserve server product to 1.5TB in its "Ultimate" dual-processor configuration.

Prices for the Xserve start at $2,999 for a single-processor Xserve with 80GB of storage to the $7,148 Ultimate model.

"This is a big day on the RAID side," said Alex Grossman, Apples senior director of server and storage hardware.

Grossman noted that this was the fourth time the company has updated its RAID product since its introduction in 2003.

"Weve seen the Xserve RAID go into lots of areas of the Mac market," Grossman said.

He added that recent certification of the Xserve RAID for Novell Netware, Windows and Linux has helped the product move into many markets where Apple products have not traditionally made headway.

"Were not only going into our core markets of education, graphics and video, which has seen a huge increase in the need for storage," Grossman said.

He added that the product has made inroads into high-performance computing clusters.

"Forty percent of our business is in heterogeneous environments," Grossman said, stating that Xserve RAIDs have been used in systems based on non-Apple operating systems.

He noted that Xserve RAID products are used at CNN, at Apples own iTunes Music Store and for other businesses for data backup.

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Addressing the question of how Apple sells these products, Grossman said: "Our channel has been evolving."

"Weve defined it more over the last few years to deal with enterprise products," he said.

He said that Apple has a direct sales force for the educational channel, while creative sales are handled mainly through VARs (value-added resellers), which can also sell to the scientific market and SMBs.

Grossman said that Apple does have an enterprise sales force, which focuses on SMBs and the enterprise.

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