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Dell's iSCSI assault revealed

Virtual attack on SMB market

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Exclusive Dell will host a major storage product unveiling in September, and we've got our money on an iSCSI storage device the company has been hinting at for months as part of the show.

The Register has learned that Dell is set to unveil a new iSCSI system called MD3000i. The unit will reportedly run on the same physical platform as the MD3000, which is Dell's direct attached SAS device.

At launch, the MD3000i will only support 400GB SAS drives. By November, however, the product should have 750GB SATA drives available.

Overall, the product is billed as a competitor to kit from LeftHand Networks.

Back in June, Dell storage marketing chief Praveen Asthana sat us down and laid out the company's plans for an aggressive push at the SMB market with iSCSI and virtualization as the star of the show. Asthana, of course, didn't spill the beans on the device, but rather gingerly inferred the curvaceous legumes that await, making us yearn to know the beany goodness that lies beneth — ahem — maybe beans aren't the right analogy for this...

Anyway, Asthana told us he believes virtualization has legitimized iSCSI as more than "a poor man's SAN." On top of its price point, the technology can avoid some of the technical maneuvering required of a physical protocol such as Fibre Channel, making it ideal for the small business market. Asthana said the company was planning a larger product roll out with a hardware/software blend around iSCSI and virtualization, but he wasn't ready to give out specifics at the time.

Using the MD3000 specs should have the iSCSI-capable MD3000i device at holding up to fifteen 3.5-inch SAS hot-pluggable hard drives. You can grab the vanilla 3000's spec-sheet here (pdf warning).

What better time to reveal the device than a Michael Dell keynote discussing a major storage initiative the company says will simplify IT for its SMB customers? Dell's event is set for Sept. 10 in San Francisco.

We're sure the vendor will have some more gear prepped for the gig, and are willing to hear about it early. You know the drill. ®

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