Fujitsu Siemens has gone all Fisher Price with the launch of "My very first SAN" - a complete storage area network aimed at small business.

The sales pitch is that it will be extremely easy to set up because all of its components have been pre-tested to work together. The system also aggressively undercuts other similar and recent entries into the easy-SAN market. There are three components at work:

  • FibreCAT SX storage system (SX60 or SX80)
  • Brocade SilkWorm SAN switches
  • Emulex host bus adapters (HBAs)

The SX60 can have up to 12TB of RAID-protected serial ATA (SATA) storage accessed over a 4Gbit/s Fibre Channel link. The SX80 goes up to 28TB with SATA or SAS (serial-attached SCSI) disks.

The components are offered in a number of different configurations. FSC's storage business VP, Dr Helmut Beck, said that a SAN "is an optimum solution for the efficient storage of growing volumes of data, and the consolidation of (SMEs') storage environment." My very first SAN is, he said, an easy, accessible and cheap way for an SME to start getting SAN benefits.

It is generally understood that SME customers have been reluctant to use Fibre Channel SANs because of their perceived high cost and complexity. FSC hopes that a lower price and pre-tested components working together will overcome such reluctance.

However, My very first SAN is not part of Microsoft's Simple SAN initiative, geared to providing easy to install, buy and operate SANs for the SME market. That has vendors like Acer, EqualLogic (iSCSI) and Hitachi Data Systems (Fibre Channel) offering complete Simple SANs and others such as NetApp and IBM offering Simple SAN components.

Also iSCSI SANs, with their use of Ethernet instead of Fibre Channel, are reckoned to be easier to install and manage because a customer's existing LAN infrastructure and knowledge can be used. FSC will be hoping that its price discounting means its product matches iSCSI SAN offerings and perhaps provides faster performance.

FSC says that pricing of all the My very first SAN configurations is aggressive with heavy component discounting. It claims it is the cheapest all-in-one SAN on the market with its list price of £5,386 excluding VAT (8,000 euros). This is for an entry configuration of a 3-drive SX60, 2Gbit/s Fibre Channel, two HBAs and one switch.