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May 31 2015

Lenovo Announces New SAN Arrays for SMBs

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At its TechWorld event, the current No. 1 in worldwide desktop and No. 4 in worldwide server sales introduced a new pair of "feature-rich" storage systems that cover a range of standard business scenarios and come at an entry-level price.

China's No. 1 hardware vendor has come a long way since the days it was founded by 11 members of the Institute of Computing Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Started in 1984 as some kind of commercial research project with a strict learning-by-doing approach, Lenovo became a household name in 2005 when it acquired IBM's struggling PC business and managed to put it back on track. Last year, the company bought more IBM assets – this time, Big Blue's Intel-based server lines (System x, BladeCenter) – in Q1/2015, it rode the wave of increasing server shipments worldwide and now holds a 7.2% share of the entire market, as attested by Gartner, Inc. Against this backdrop, it's only logical for Lenovo to crank up its comparatively weak storage portfolio with two fresh SAN arrays, the Lenovo Storage S2200 and S3200 (pictured above).

According to the official press release, the S2200 and S3200 are intended to facilitate "simplified data management for a variety of applications, ranging from general purpose web serving and data management/analytics that require high IOPS, to video surveillance and streaming workloads that need high throughput." Both arrays come in 2U configurations with either 12 x 3.5 inch or 24 x 2.5 inch drives, are equipped with either single or dual storage controllers (however, the combined data sheet only lists dual controllers) and connect to the host servers via SAS, iSCSI, or Fibre Channel (FC); the S3200 even offers multi-protocol connectivity with iSCSI and FC running simultaneously. Both systems support RAID levels 0, 1, 5, 6, and 10; scale up to 1,024 LUNs per system (each with a maximum size of 128 TB); and support up to 2,048 volumes and 245 snapshots. At first glance, the main difference is in the maximum number of drives supported – the S2200 works with as many as 96 drives, the S3200 with twice this amount. Neither the press release nor the data sheet says anything about capacities. Both arrays have their management software pre-installed.

While these specs generally match what you'd expect to find in storage systems geared towards SMBs, Lenovo has added a number of interesting software functionalities – such as Thin Provisioning or Rapid RAID Rebuild – that are typically reserved for the enterprise class. Probably the most important is called Intelligent Real-Time Tiering and "automatically moves frequently accessed data to higher performing drives every five seconds" to increase application performance. Lenovo claims that "hybrid configurations" of the S3200 with Intelligent Real-Time Tiering can achieve up to 120,000 IOPS – a performance that would come close to that of an all-flash array.

The press release says Lenovo's new storage arrays will be available in June; pricing starts at US-$3,400 for the S2200 and $6,500 for the S3200. For more information, please check out this slide show from CRN or better still, visit the Lenovo TechWorld web page.

 
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