IBM's low-cost TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller (SVC), which was developed in the UK and is part of the company's roadmap for automated storage allocation and management, will be released this summer.
The SVC units connect to storage area networks to control physical storage.
Previously codenamed Lodestone, the product is expected to have an entry price of around £60,000 for supporting 20 to 25 servers.
Resellers believe that this will make the rack-mounted SVC attractive to small to medium sized enterprises.
Peter Hulme, senior architect at storage consultancy Sagitta Performance Systems, an SVC pilot user, explained that SVC offers management of storage at the physical disk level.
"Customers are asking for better, faster, cheaper storage. It must not fail and it has to scale," he said.
Jens Tiedemann, vice president of marketing for storage software at IBM, claimed that rapid storage growth, and the need for high data availability, meant that the total automation of storage handling would become the only option.
Speaking at IBM's Hursley development centre in Hampshire, where SVC is developed, Tiedemann said: "With SVC, we are actually cutting the umbilical cord from the server to where the data is stored for the first time.
"This is the only way you can add more storage without taking the system down."
Paul Evans, Sagitta's technical services manager, added: "SVC performance is superb and scalability with inherent resilience is a real benefit."
The ability for potential customers to run pilots and trials of the system without commitment is attractive, according to Evans, but he said that the company would initially concentrate on migrating its existing IBM users.
Andy Slater, director of reseller TecTrade, which has also trialled the system, indicated that Big Blue is now able to deliver end-to-end storage resource management, which is a necessary part of its own vision for the ideal storage infrastructure.
Other elements of IBM's roadmap include TotalStorage Common File System software for heterogeneous file-sharing; a vendor-neutral central device management tool; and more advanced storage management.
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