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Shiny new top-end storage for IBM

No fat drives for DS8800

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Big Blue will launch a new high-end storage array today, the DS8800, which only uses SFF disk drives, abandoning fat 3.5-inch drives.

There will be up to 1056 hard disk drives and they will use a SAS 6Gbit/sec interface. The architecture supports much more than that number of drives. It is like HP's P9500 in not supporting 3.5-inch disk drives.

The system will also offer STEC 300GB, 2-bit, multi-level cell solid state drives.

Barry Whyte, an SVC (SAN Volume Controller) performance expert and master inventor at IBM, thinks the previously standard 15,000rpm 3.5-inch disk drives could vanish from enterprise array's performance tier in 18 months.

Like HP's P9500 which has a lower maximum capacity than the previous Hitachi USP-V/XP24000 generation, the DS8800 has a lower capacity than the 3.5-inch drive-using DS8700, currently top of IBM's storage range, which can hold up to 2.048PB using 2TB drives. The DS8800 can use 600GB SFF drives, meaning a maximum capacity of 633.6TB.

Doug Balog, a VP and IBM disk storage business line executive, says the DS8800 increases I/O throughput by 40 per cent and shrinks the DS8700 footprint in half.

Balog thinks that when SFF hard disk drives reach 1TB capacities a tipping point will be reached and the shift to the SFF, 2.5-inch drives will accelerate. Industry sources suggest Seagate is talking about 1.5TB, 4-platter, 2.5-inch drives.

The array's internal controller to drive tray network is 8Gbit/s Fibre Channel as is the host connection. The cabinet features front-to-back cooling, making it suitable for hot aisle-cold aisle data centre layouts.

We only have partial DS8800 details - more is due from IBM later today. ®

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