EMC in Full Launch Mode

New Symmetrix, NAS, iSCSI Clariion, and VTLs coming from Hopkinton Monday

October 21, 2006

4 Min Read
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EMC next week will make additions across its hardware platforms by introducing a baby Symmetrix, iSCSI Clariions, upgraded NAS, and virtual tape libaries.

EMC is keeping mum until Monday, but according to EMC internal documents obtained by Byte and Switch and industry sources, here's what's coming:

Symmetrix DMX-3 950: Replaces the DMX800 as the lowest end system in the enterprise DX-3 SAN family that EMC launched in July 2005 and upgraded with larger configurations in January. (See EMC Swells Its High End, EMC Makes Good on DMX-3, and EMC Refreshes NAS, SAN.) EMC bills this as a SAN for remote data centers with limited space because it is smaller than its other DMX-3 systems. The 950 holds from 32 to 360 drives, compared to 2,400 drives in the largest DMX-3.

Customers can't expand from the DMX-3 950 to larger DMX-3 models, although they can replicate between the 950 and other DMX-3s. The 950 is also the only DMX-3 system that has no mainframe support.

The DMX-3 950 competes against Hitachi Data Systems NSC55 TagmaStore SAN and IBM's DS8100, but could also bump up against EMC's high-end Clariion midrange SAN, the CX3-80, which scales to 480 drives.During EMC's earnings conference call Tuesday, CEO Joe Tucci said there would be more overlap between Clariion and Symmetrix to avoid "seams" between them.

"We are going to push it [Symmetrix] up and down a little bit," Tucci said. "You do not want to leave any seams. Of course, the CX80 is way up there in what used to be high-end storage not too long ago in terms of performance and capabilities and reliability. Those two product lines overlap and I think that is very healthy."

iSCSI support for Clariion CX3-20 and CX3-40: EMC joins Hitachi and Network Appliance as the only major vendors offering iSCSI and Fibre Channel connectivity in the same system. EMC will give customers the option of adding eight iSCSI ports along with its four 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel ports in its Clariion CX3-20 and CX3-40 systems announced in May. (See EMC Uncages 4-Gig Clariions.)

Internal EMC documents say there are no plans to support iSCSI in the higher end Clariion CX3-80, or offer iSCSI-only versions of CX3-20 or CX3-40 systems. EMC does have iSCSI-only versions of smaller Clariions, the AX150i and CX300i. EMC says the iSCSI connectivity will cost between 3 and 6 percent more than Fibre Channel-only systems, depending on the configuration.

For all the hardware EMC is rolling out, one analyst said the most useful improvements could be found in upgrades to the Navisphere management suite and Flare 24 operating system for Clariion. EMC added a Navisphere quality of service manager, cleaned up the Flare 24 management interface, and will let users do things such as group LUNS in user-defined folders. The software upgrades won't be out until December, though."They made Navisphere simpler, added point and click, and made it intuitive," the analyst says. "It's never been the easiest management software to use."

Celerra NS40 and NS80 NAS: EMC's new NAS systems are built on the underlying technology in its latest Clariion architecture. The NS40 midrange system replaces the NS50 and the NS80 enterprise system replaces the NS700 family. EMC is also adding 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel support for its Celerra gateways. The new gateways work with Clariion CX3 and Symmetrix DMX-3 models, but not all of EMC's older SAN systems.

The NS40 has been available since August with the NS80 coming in November. EMC's main NAS rival, Network Appliance, is expected to counter with an upgrade of its FAS 3000 midrange system by the end of the year.

EMC Disk Library (DL)4000: EMC is upgrading its VTL one week after NetApp did the same. (See NTAP Disses VTL De-Dupe.) While NetApp added hardware compression, EMC's promised performance gain comes from 4-Gbit/s connectivity -- the DL4000 uses the Clariion CX-3 architecture. The DL4000 replaces the DL700 family that EMC launched in 2004. (See EMC Intros Clariion Disk Library.)

EMC also added support for Symantec NetBackup software in its media server that moves data from virtual tapes to physical tapes over the network. Previously, EMC's VTLs only supported its Legato backup software.The addition of NetBackup support is a bit of a surprise, considering Symantec is EMC's main backup software competitor, but not shocking because Symantec is the market share leader in backup software.

Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • Hitachi Data Systems (HDS)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Network Appliance Inc.

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