IBM has released the first technology from its acquisition of XIV, amid claims that the product appears to lack some

The company posted a announcement on its website that that the IBM XIV Storage System is now generally available. But one analyst has expressed doubt that it will appeal to a wide section of its target audience.

"They have exposed a very limited set of capabilities that this architecture is capable of," says Arun Taneja, an analyst at the Taneja Group. "They're not very elaborate in places that matter."

IBM offers only one configuration, with 180 SATA disk drives, 24 Fibre Channel ports and six iSCSI ports. Besides offering just one version, Taneja says the product literature lacks any reference to some of the high-end features required by next generation Fibre Channel storage systems. 

For example, IBM doesn't specify clearly enough whether XIV has a clustered controller design, Taneja says. As described last October in a Taneja report, Next Generation Fibre Channel Storage Systems Market Forecast 2007-2011, clustered controller design offers more than two active controllers on a storage volume and synchronises the cache across all active controllers.

"In addition to supporting multiple active controllers, clustered systems virtualise the individual controllers and make the entire set of controllers appear as one single storage system to hosts," wrote Taneja.

Taneja does expect clustered controller design and other next-generation features to appear in future versions of the XIV product.

"I believe the architecture has [these features] but IBM didn't feel comfortable presenting them to the market yet," he said.

XIV's chairman was Moshe Yanai, who used to be EMC's head of engineering and was the chief architect behind Symmetrix.

EMC's chief strategy officer for the Symmetrix line, Barry Burke, took special delight in criticising IBM's XIV release on his blog Tuesday. 

"Weird. Nothing from IBM other than the announcement letters posted to IBM.com world-wide. Not even a press release. No customer stories," Burke wrote. "Maybe this whole XIV thing wasn't really all that big a deal after all!"

IBM has not yet responded to e-mail and phone inquiries.

There are probably still good reasons to look forward to IBM's future moves with XIV, Taneja said XIV still had not released its first product when the IBM/XIV deal closed less than eight months ago, he notes. When a start-up is purchased by a big company like IBM, it's not uncommon for its technology to go "dark" for a year, he said. It wouldn't be surprising to see a more complete product rollout in the next few months."