Apple today introduced Xserve RAID, the first 3U rack storage system with a massive 2.5TB storage capacity, blazing performance of up to 400 MB/s and the industry’s most aggressive price point of just over US$4 per gigabyte.

A unique architecture delivers the massive storage density and incredible performance of Xserve RAID. Fourteen independent ATA/100 drive channels provide up to 2.5TB of storage. Dual independent RAID controllers with up to 1GB controller cache memory provide fully-redundant storage. And a dual 2Gb Fibre Channel host interface delivers unprecedented performance. Each 180GB Apple Drive Module uses a dedicated drive channel, maximizing the 400 MB/s industry standard Fibre Channel host connection. Xserve RAID scales in capacity and performance by adding more drives, or more Xserve RAID systems for virtually unlimited expansion. And, in an industry first, Xserve RAID provides RAID level 5 throughput that supports affordable real-time HD 1080i video editing.

“Xserve RAID is an industry breakthrough product, offering up to 2.5TB of high-performance redundant storage at just over $4 per gigabyte-a fraction of the cost of storage from Dell, HP, Sun or EMC,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “Xserve RAID features dual independent RAID controllers for redundant storage, a dual 2Gb Fibre Channel interface for ultra-high performance, and dual power supplies for peace of mind, all starting at just $5,999.”

“No other vendor comes close to offering the compelling performance, density and value of Xserve RAID in a 3U storage system — plus it’s got Apple’s trademark ease of use and set up,” said Jon Moog, CIO, RiskWise, a leading provider of reliable high volume, real-time risk management services for mission critical operations in Internet companies, banks and other credit lending organizations. “After seeing the specifications of Xserve RAID, we were excited and thought it would make a perfect companion to our 120 Xserve servers. After seeing the price, we placed an order.”

The unique serviceability and redundancy features of Xserve RAID are delivered by an accessible enclosure, modular component design and continual visual feedback for local monitoring. Redundant hot swap power and cooling modules can be replaced in seconds without any interruption of service and in the event of a drive failure, access to data remains unaffected while data is automatically rebuilt on a spare drive. The indicator lights on the front and rear panels display status at a glance for all system components and a built-in audible alarm provides local failure notification.

With Apple’s legendary ease of use, the included Java-based RAID Admin software provides detailed event information about the system and in the event of a problem automatically sends email notification. RAID Admin provides an intuitive interface for setting up, managing and monitoring multiple Xserve RAID systems from anywhere on the Internet over TCP/IP through a secure encrypted password. In addition, using Apple’s new Rendezvous networking technology, RAID Admin can also automatically discover and connect to Xserve RAID systems over any IP network.

Xserve connects easily to Xserve RAID using the dual channel 2Gb Apple Fibre Channel PCI Card sold separately at an industry breakthrough price of $499 (US) (SRP.) This high-speed industry standard storage interface offers dedicated bandwidth with a throughput of up to 400MB/s. Apple’s PCI card comes with two high-speed 2.9-meter copper cables and accepts SFP (Small Form-factor Pluggable) copper or optical transceivers for use with fiber-optic cables.

Apple offers a choice of world-class services and support programs for Xserve RAID including 4-hour on-site response, 24×7 technical support, AppleCare