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Fujitsu-Siemens punts small biz storage blade

Because SAN is a pain in the NAS

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Earlier this decade, as the blade server form factor went commercial, the consensus was that local storage was only necessary on blade servers for operating system images and that any data customers need would be plunked on storage area networks that are linked to the blades. Some even went so far as to suggest that blades should not have any local storage at all, and operating systems should be booted from SANs.

Well, IT shops being what they are - cantankerous and often willing to get modern - all of the blade server makers have had to make their buyers comfortable by rolling out storage blades - which have disk controllers, disk drives, and often storage software - on companion blades that plug into the chassis. How this is different, or better, than a tower or rack server with integrated storage is not exactly clear. But, in this crazy world, you make what people want to buy.

And so, the Fujitsu-Siemens partnership has announced the SX650 storage blade companion to the BX620 S4 blade server, which is a two-socket Xeon blade server with two of its own small form factor SAS drives (146 GB). The Primergy BX600 chassis can fit up to 10 of these blade servers, which mount vertically in the 7U box. The SX650 storage blade is the same width as the server blade and has room for five more drives.

The storage blade has two 3Gb/sec SAS connections and is paired to a specific BX620 blade server that is right next to it in the chassis. It has an LSI MegaRAID RAID 1/5 disk controller with 512 MB of cache that runs the disks on the blade. The SX650 storage blade can also use 2.5-inch SATA drives, which are less expensive than SAS drives, spin slower, and are generally regarded as less reliable, too. But they have more capacity and are less expensive too.

The advent of this storage blade might be a precursor to a run on small and medium businesses, which Hewlett-Packard and IBM have targeted with a compact, office-friendly chassis as well as special storage blades. It won't be surprising at all to see Fujitsu-Siemens soon launch a Primergy BX300 that supports a few server and storage blades and can fit in a deskside space.

The SX650 is available now. Prices were not announced. ®

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