EMC's Midrange Makeover

Vendor raises the midrange storage stakes with the launch of its CX4

August 6, 2008

2 Min Read
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EMCs overhaul of its Clariion offerings today may well have set the tone for the midrange market over the next few years.

By adding solid state disks, virtual provisioning, spin-down disk technology, and a host of other features to its CX4, EMC has issued a clear challenge to rivals such as HP and IBM.

“[The] new Clariion CX4 series should rejuvenate EMC’s midrange systems sales in Q3 and Q4,” wrote Kaushik Roy, senior analyst at Pacific Growth Equities, in a research note released this morning. “Note [that] EMC is going to be the first to market with Flash drives in the midrange storage -- EMC’s new CX4 will heighten the competition with IBM, HP, and NetApp.”

EMC’s midrange growth had decelerated to about 8 percent in the vendor’s Q2 results, compared to the high-end DMX, which grew 10 percent year-over-year, he explained.

Like many people, Roy expects that there will be very limited adoption of Flash technology this year, with less than 1 percent of CX4s sold with Flash, but he feels that EMC has nonetheless made a very shrewd move.”Being first to market gives EMC some bragging rights,” he wrote. “We also expect competitors to follow suit and include Flash drives in midrange systems next year.”

There are already rumors, for example, that IBM is planning a major storage announcement on September 9, which could touch on its midrange offerings, according to Roy.

These sentiments were echoed by Ben Woo, vice president of enterprise storage systems at IDC, who feels that midrange systems will increasingly carry high-end features, such as EMC’s virtual provisioning, spin-down disks, and its "UltraFlex" technology for adding different types of I/O connection.

”Most of the storage vendors out there are realizing that, irrespective of if you’re an SMB or an enterprise, the features that are required from your storage system are the same,” he tells Byte and Switch.

In particular, Woo expects to see advanced replication technologies become part and parcel of midrange systems.“I think we will see more and more focus on delivering redundancy in terms of site redundancy all the way down to the midrange,” he says. “Many vendors are starting to realize that ‘I need to bring these features to the SMB.' ”

EMC may be the first storage vendor to undergo a major midrange face-lift, but it looks as if it will certainly not be the last.Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Byte and Switch's editors directly, send us a message.

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • IDC

  • NetApp Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP)

  • Pacific Growth Equities Inc.

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