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Is EMC Overshooting on iSCSI?

Symmetrix iSCSI options are a vote of confidence, but it's curious EMC didn't start with Clariion

Tomorrow, EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) is expected to announce new iSCSI options for its Symmetrix DMX family, giving the emerging IP storage networking technology yet another high-profile supporter delivering products to the market (see EMC Flexes DMXes).

But analysts say it's puzzling that EMC is bringing out iSCSI for its high-end storage family rather than the midrange CX Clariion systems, where the proposition of attached lower-end servers to SAN storage over IP would be more attractive. Even though EMC is expected to cut the entry-level pricing on the DMX 800 to around $280,000, that's still well above what most consider to be the sweet spot for iSCSI.

"The curious thing about this is that EMC's first iSCSI array is Symmetrix, not Clariion, which would be a better fit from the standpoint of the channel," says John Webster, senior analyst and founder of Data Mobility Group.

Adds Tony Prigmore, senior analyst at Enterprise Storage Group Inc.: "I doubt anyone in the industry really expected EMC's first iSCSI platform to be DMX."

A new four-port controller board for the Symmetrix family will allow users to provide block-level iSCSI access to disk storage via Gigabit Ethernet. The option is designed to let customers connect low-end servers to the SAN without needing to install and manage more costly Fibre Channel host bus adapters (HBAs).

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