IBM System Storage DS3512 Express review
An affordable and flexible network storage solution with excellent performance and massive expansion potential
Review Date: 8 Dec 2010
Reviewed By: Dave Mitchell
Price when reviewed: £2,835 (£3,331 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Network storage arrays aimed at SMBs are invariably offered with only SATA hard disks to keep costs down. IBM's latest System Storage DS3500 family brings 6Gbits/sec SAS within their grasp, and here we put the DS3512 through its paces and see whether compromises have been made in the search for value.
The DS3500 family consists of two head unit options, with the DS3512 on review supporting 12 3.5in drives. The DS3524 is also a 2U appliance, but can handle up to 24 2.5in disks; prices for this start at £3,087. Both models have a single controller that can be upgraded with a second where they run in active/active mode.
IBM gets the value ball rolling: along with standard SAS and full disk encryption (FDE) SAS drives, it also offers near-line SAS. These new drives deliver the high capacity and low cost of SATA but with SAS drive electronics. Offered with 7.2k spindle speeds, they do away with the need for a SATA-SAS interposer, so reducing manufacturing costs and potential failures. They also have the same level of host queueing support as standard SAS drives.
The DS3500 controllers offer plenty of connection options. You start with a pair of fixed 6Gbits/sec SAS ports for DAS applications, but there's room for a daughtercard, and IBM offers dual-port 6Gbits/sec SAS or quad-port 8Gbits/sec Fibre Channel and Gigabit iSCSI options. Our review system came with the 8Gbits/sec Fibre Channel card.
Expansion potential is based on the drive count, not the number of shelves. Each controller has an embedded 36-port SAS expander linked to its expansion port, so a pair can support up to 96 hard disks. You can daisy-chain as many shelves as you like, as long as you don't go over this number of drives.
You can mix and match IBM's EXP3512 and EXP3524 expansion shelves, join them with multiple redundant SAS paths and have different SAS drive types within the same shelf. The controllers have 1GB of cache, but the battery backup plays a different role to what it usually does. In the event of a power failure it keeps the controller running, so cache contents can be de-staged to an on-board 8GB SD memory card.
I am keen to know how well IBM firmware performs the snapshots.
The Equallogics are able to do instant snapshots and all the snapshots are independent of each other - that means one can recover from any and every snapshot regardless of the order in which the snapshots were taken. I have being told this feature is unique in market, could you please confirm it?
Moreover, in case of volume recovery, Equallogic software will automatically take snapshot of the problematic volume prior to recovering from the snapshot.
By stasi47 on 9 Dec 2010
"been told" of course... forgive me my English... :$
By stasi47 on 9 Dec 2010
I want to buy! ((DS3512 Dual Controller (1746A2D))!!! I ask to send on my mail the offer!
By marat on 14 Apr 2011
- Cisco: 100% of companies hosting malware
- Microsoft supercharges PowerPoint with Office Mix
- Microsoft and Nokia deal tweaked ahead of completion
- Microsoft slashes custom XP support price
- Ubuntu LTS Server 14.04 extends cloud support
- Intel: PC sales are "encouraging"
- Google to rank encrypted pages higher
- Heartbleed: the race to reissue security certificates
- Dropbox boosts app line-up with Carousel and Mailbox for Android
- BlackBerry CEO says not selling off phones "any time soon"
- Hello Cortana, it's nice to meet you
- Windows 8.1 Update: an abject surrender
- The insane economics of Sky Now TV
- No such thing as a free app... so pay up if you want quality
- Time to outlaw crapware-laden installers
- Windows Phone 8.1 video: hands-on
- Office for iPad: key information
- Why every PC buyer owes Richard Durkin a debt of gratitude
- HTC One M8 vs Samsung Galaxy S5: 2014's big-hitters compared
- Windows XP end of life: key information
- Office: should you buy it, rent it - or dump it?
- Small server vs cloud: which is best for SMBs?
- The best mobile apps for business
- Windows XP: Microsoft’s ticking time bomb
- gTLDs: what your business should know about new domain names
- Can Microsoft survive? A look at servers and tools
- Can Microsoft survive? The future of Office
- A real-world guide to business VoIP
- Sack your PA: how to stay on top of your work life
- Power lies with the internet giants, not the governments
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office
- How to write your company's IT security policy
- Raspberry Pi and Wolfram: a must-have for every child
- Could you get by with Office Web Apps?
- The best Android antivirus apps for 2014
- Headings vs headers: how to use both in Word