Dell shows off SMB storage

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Dell shows off SMB storage

Dell has unveiled a new storage device that targets small and medium sized businesses (SMBs). The product is an attempt at increasing the firm's overall appeal in the segment.

Storage needs for the SMB segment are underserved, Dell chief executive Michael Dell argued at a company event in San Francisco. Firms are forced either to use consumer technologies such as DVDs, or are offered stripped down enterprise grade technology. Where the first is lacking the capacity that businesses require, the latter is both too complicated and too expensive to a small firm without a dedicated support staff.

"It either costs too much or doesn't do what you want it to do," said Dell.

Dell's new MD3000i claims to close the gap between the low end and high end markets.

The storage device offers remote management technology that aims to improve ease of use. It operates on the iSCSI protocol rather than the more prevalent fiber channel, allowing it to operate over an Ethernet network.

"This is critical for SMBs who need advanced storage but don't see fiber channel as the way to go," Dell said, adding that iSCSI is less expensive.

To minimize down time due to maintenance and outages, the device offers redundant power supplies and cooling fans. Users can pool up to 16 of the storage servers in a network, making for a maximum of 18TeraBytes of storage capacity.

The device is available as of today. Prices start at $7,000, with a fully configured system costing around $13,000.

Dell claims that it is undercutting systems from competitors such as HP and IBM on price. The fully configured system comes in at about 13 per cent less than the cheapest competitor, the company claimed.

Dell previously targetted only the enterprise storage space through a partnership with EMC. The MD3000i however was completely developed by Dell.

A single storage device by itself doesn't make a great impact on the overall market, Dell admitted. But the executive argued that firms are typically seeking for a single vendor for all their technology.

"Products like these are often sold with x86 servers."
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