Apple today updated its Xserve RAID storage system, a 3U high-availability, rack storage system to deliver 7 terabytes (TB) of storage capacity at the industry’s most aggressive price of just $1.86 per GB. Apple also upgraded its Xserve 1U rack optimized server with up to three 500GB drives, achieving a groundbreaking 1.5TB of storage. Prices for Xserve still start at just $2,999 and prices for Xserve RAID at just $5,999.

“Apple has shipped an impressive 76 petabytes of Xserve RAID storage in the last two years,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing in the press release. “We are now offering our users more capacity at an even lower price per gigabyte.”

The unique architecture of Xserve RAID delivers massive storage density and incredible performance. Designed with 14 independent 500GB Ultra ATA drive channels, Xserve RAID provides up to 7TB of storage capacity with pricing as low as $1.86 per GB, while the dual independent RAID controllers with 512 MB cache per controller offer sustained throughput of over 385MBps—high enough to support the most demanding media production environments using protected RAID level 5. Xserve RAID is certified to run in Mac OS X, Windows, NetWare, SUSE and Red Hat Linux environments.

The Xserve 1U rack optimized server can now hold up to three 500GB drives to achieve a groundbreaking 1.5TB of hot-plug storage. With dual 64-bit 2.3 GHz PowerPC G5 processors that deliver over 35 gigaflops of processing power per system and the industry’s fastest front side 1U server system bus, running at up to 1.15 GHz with up to 9.2 GBps of bandwidth per processor and Mac OS X Server version 10.4 Tiger installed, it is the ideal server for everything from file and print serving to computational clusters.

Xserve RAID connects easily to any Xserve server or Power Mac desktop system using the dual-channel 2GB Apple Fibre Channel PCI-X card sold separately at an industry breakthrough price of $499 and works seamlessly with Xsan, Apple’s 64-bit cluster file system for Mac OS X to deliver a powerful, easy-to-manage, enterprise class SAN solution at a breakthrough low price that enables organizations to consolidate storage resources and provide multiple computers with concurrent file-level read/write access to shared volumes over Fibre Channel.

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 Service Parts Kits and the AppleCare Professional SupportLine and Tools program.

The new Xserve RAID is available today through the Apple Store and Apple Authorized Resellers. Xserve RAID comes in three standard configurations, or can be fully customized to meet specific customer requirements. Build-to-order options can include additional Apple Drive Modules and cache battery modules.

Xserve RAID with a suggested retail price of US$5,999 includes:
• 1TB RAID 0 total available storage
• dual independent RAID controllers with 512MB cache per controller
• dual 2GB Fibre Channel SFP ports with 200MBps throughput per channel
• four 250GB ATA Apple Drive Modules
• 8MB on-drive cache

Xserve RAID with a suggested retail price of $8,499 includes:
• 3.5TB RAID 0 total available storage
• dual independent RAID controllers with 512MB cache per controller
• dual 2GB Fibre Channel SFP ports with 200MBps throughput per channel
• seven 500GB ATA Apple Drive Modules
• 8MB on-drive cache

Xserve RAID with a suggested retail price of $12,999 includes:
• 7TB RAID 0 total available storage
• dual independent RAID controllers with 512MB cache per controller
• dual 2GB Fibre Channel SFP ports with 200MBps throughput per channel
• fourteen 500GB ATA Apple Drive Modules
• 8MB on-drive cache

More info about the updated Apple Xserve RAID here.