IBM has improved the capacity and performance of its mid-range disk storage systems and tape libraries and restructured the pricing of its SAN Volume Controller virtualisation software.

Pricing on SAN Volume Controller (SVC) for block-based storage systems will move from a tiered model to a per-terabyte model to make it more affordable for lower-end users. "Before, if you went just over the boundary of a tier, you paid for it. Now there is improved granularity, so you don't have same problems of squeaking into the next pricing level," said Charlie Andrews, director of IBM's TotalStorage Solutions division.

Andrews said SVC Version 2.1 now also supports management of Sun's StorEdge 9900 series storage arrays, including Models 9910, 9960, 9970 and 9980. IBM is also adding support for Microsoft's server clustering software on SAN File System, IBM's virtualisation technology for file-based systems.

On the hardware side, there is now the TotalStorage DS4000 series of disk arrays with 146GB, 15,000rpm Fibre Channel disk drives and 300GB, 10,000rpm Fibre Channel drives. Both changes represent a doubling in disk capacities and a 5,000rpm jump in performance. The arrays, formally known as the FAStT line, can now scale to more than 67TB from a previous 32TB.

IBM is also offering the third generation of linear tape open (LTO) format tape drives in its line of automated tape storage systems. That change doubles the capacity of those systems, which include two low-end tape autoloaders and two high-end libraries: the TotalStorage 3584 and TotalStorage 3592. Additionally, IBM added a second tape robotic arm to its 3592 library to trim the time needed for tape cartridge insertion and retrieval by half.

Andrews said the refresh of its mid-range products and pricing changes for its SAN virtualisation software represent efforts to offer customers a tighter information life-cycle management strategy, where data can be moved more seamlessly between systems in a heterogeneous environment.

Entry-level pricing for SVC now starts at $47,000, down from $60,000, and pricing per terabyte is around $7,000.

IBM's TotalStorage tape drives, tape libraries and tape autoloaders with LTO-3 technology will be available 4 March starting at $5,999. The new IBM TotalStorage DS4000 series performance and capacity enhancements are available immediately. The new high-capacity 300GB Fibre Channel disk drive will cost $3,999; the previous 146GB Fibre Channel disk drives were $2,499.

The TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller v2.1.1 and the enhanced IBM TotalStorage SAN File System are available immediately.