IBM has announced a "turbo" upgrade to its midrange modular server, the FAStT600, which will now include advanced flash and volume-copy features, 1GB of cache and up to 112 disk drives offering up to 16.4TB capacity. The company also said upgraded firmware on the FAStT600 pushes the rate of I/O per second from 46,000 to 77,000.

Calling the latest upgrade a "turbo option," IBM said the package is due to ship 12 Sept.

IBM said its FAStT midrange modular storage server line, which ranges from the entry-level FAStT200 to the enterprise-class FAStT900, is the company's fastest-growing storage product line, with 111 percent year-to-year and 36 percent quarter-to-quarter growth.

Ron Johnson, an analyst at Evaluator Group, said he believed that because of its scalability, the FAStT600 would displace the FAStT200 as the entry-level storage-area network (SAN) server for IBM. It fitted well in both distributed networks and SAN consolidation, he said.

"They haven't always done it, but they've done a very good job with the integration of the FAStT line," Johnson said. "They've protected their (customer) base very well ... and their server divisions are very happy with the FAStT product."

The storage server currently has a maximum of 42 disk drives, 256MB of cache and can be partitioned into eight to 16 arrays of disks.

Craig Butler, manager of product marketing group for IBM's midrange storage line, said the scalability of the FAStT600 makes it well suited for workgroup SANs, small businesses and data centers.

The FAStT600's cache also increased from 256MB to 1GB and the maximum number of partitions grew from 16 to 64. And it will afford systems administrators IBM's SnapCopy tool for point-in-time copies of data sets, as well as a VolumeCopy tool, which pauses application server operations in order to take a copy of an entire volume of data.