Apple Computer released its first major storage solution at Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco this week. The new Xserve RAID storage system offers as many as 3.5TB of storage capacity in a 3U (5.25") rack enclosure. During the unveiling, Apple went to great lengths to ensure wide industry support for the new product by certifying the product with 11 companies, including Brocade, Microsoft, QLogic, Red Hat, and VERITAS Software.
"For the first time, customers running Windows and Linux can take advantage of Xserve RAID's incredible price performance and breakthrough technology," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing. According to the company, Xserve RAID successfully completed all the tests required for qualification under Microsoft's Designed for Windows Logo Program for Windows Server 2003. As for Linux, Red Hat said that Xserve RAID is the first Apple product the company has certified on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform.
Increasingly over the past year, Apple has tried to become more involved in enterprise solutions. The company is traditionally known for its Macintosh OS and niche computers. The company faces an uphill battle in the storage industry, competing as it will against companies such as Dell, EMC, HP, and Iomega for market share in small and midsized businesses. Apple's work to ensure support for its product by other industry solutions should definitely make a big difference.
The Xserve RAID is an IDE-based storage system with 14 independent ATA/100 drive channels. The system connects to servers through Fibre Channel. The primary configuration tool for the Xserve RAID is a Java-based management utility called RAID Admin, which permits RAID Set Slicing and Set Expansion as well as offering testing and repair tools. Xserve RAID is available from Apple and Apple authorized resellers in three standard configurations ranging in price from $5999 to $10,999. When ordered directly from Apple, Xserve RAID can also be customized.