Apple has updated its Xserve RAID storage system.

The 3U high-availability, rack storage system now delivers 5.6 terabytes of storage capacity at what Apple claims is the "industry's most aggressive price for storage" – £1.79 per GB.

Apple has also expanded support for heterogeneous environments with certification from Cisco and SUSE Linux and optimized the system to work with its Xsan Storage Area Network file system.

Apple VP of Worldwide Product Marketing Philip Schiller said: "Xserve RAID features a breakthrough, high-performance storage architecture that is the perfect complement to any Xserve G5 system. We're now offering more capacity at an even lower price per gigabyte in a system that has been optimized and certified to run with leading enterprise applications and systems."

Seitel, a leading provider of seismic data to the oil and gas industry, is planning to upgrade. Director of Web Technologies Chris Hanson said: "Apple's Xserve RAID systems deliver enterprise-class storage at a dramatically lower cost compared to competitive offerings. We're planning to add 30 terabytes of the updated Xserve RAID storage over the next six months, bringing our total capacity to 100 terabytes."

Pricing and availability

The new Xserve RAID is available now and costs from £4,599. It includes fourteen independent 400GB Ultra ATA drive channels that provide up to 5.6TB of storage capacity, while the dual independent RAID controllers with 512MB cache per controller offer sustained throughput of over 380MBps-high enough to support two streams of uncompressed 10-bit HD video editing using protected RAID level 5.

Xserve RAID connects to any Xserve server or Power Mac desktop system using the dual-channel 2GB Apple Fibre Channel PCI-X card sold separately for £349. It offers dedicated bandwidth with a throughput of up to 400MBps. Apple's PCI-X card comes with two high-speed 2.9-meter copper fibre channel SFP-to-SFP cables and accepts SFP optical transceivers for use with fiber-optic cables over a long distance.

The £4,599 Xserve RAID includes 1 TB RAID 0 storage; dual independent RAID controllers with 512MB cache per controller; dual 2GB Fibre Channel SFP ports with 200MBps throughput per channel; four 250GB ATA/100 Apple Drive Modules; and 8MB on-drive cache.

The £6,549 Xserve RAID includes 2.8TB 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 400GB ATA/100 Apple Drive Modules; and 8MB on-drive cache.

The £9,999 Xserve RAID has 5.6TB 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 400GB ATA/100 Apple Drive Modules; and 8MB on-drive cache.

Apple offers services and support programs for Xserve RAID customers including 4-hour on-site response, 24x7 technical support, AppleCare Service Parts Kits and the AppleCare Professional SupportLine and Tools program.