IBM Turns to LSI for Midrange Storage

IBM (NYSE: IBM) has turned to OEM partner LSI (NYSE: LSI) for its latest midrange data storage array.

The IBM System Storage DS5020 Express is based on LSI’s Engenio 4900 storage system, and offers “enterprise-class storage capabilities for midrange businesses,” according to Big Blue. The storage system, which will replace the DS4700, boasts 8Gbps Fibre Channel and 1Gb iSCSI connectivity.

IBM said the DS5020 can support virtualized environments such as IBM PowerVM, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Hyper-V and VMware (NYSE: VMW) vSphere 4.

IBM claims the modular storage system is the first midrange array to offer self-encrypting drives for greater security. IBM also offers encryption on its high-end System Storage DS8000 line.

IBM accounted for 16 percent of LSI’s sales last year. LSI recently acquired NAS vendor ONStor, raising speculation that IBM could OEM LSI’s NAS systems in addition to its SANs. NetApp (NASDAQ: NTAP) currently has a NAS relationship with IBM.

Asked if IBM could offer LSI’s new NAS systems, a Big Blue spokesperson replied, “IBM is pleased with its long-standing relationship with LSI, but the company doesn’t comment on market speculation.”

LSI said its Engenio 4900 architecture delivers 1.6 GB/s on sustained reads from disk and more than 50,000 IOPS disk reads. The system’s 8Gb FC host interfaces can reduce the number of host bus adapters (HBAs) per server and the number of overall ports in the FC SAN infrastructure, for as much as a 45 percent savings in SAN infrastructure costs.

The IBM DS5020 comes with four 8Gbps FC interfaces and can support an additional four ports, which can be either 8Gbps FC or 1Gbps iSCSI. The DS5020 supports up to 112 drives with EXP520 expansion units. Drive options include FC, self-encrypting FC, and SATA.

The DS5020 also offers premium features such as partitioning, FlashCopy, VolumeCopy and Enhanced Remote Mirroring.

The IBM System Storage DS5020 Express will be available September 4, with prices starting at $22,500, which includes support and a three-year warranty.

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Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for Time.com, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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