EMC Sets Sights on SMB Storage

Vendor unveils its low-end Celerra offering, touting enterprise-class storage for small firms

August 27, 2008

3 Min Read
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Small is beautiful, at least as far as EMC is concerned. The vendor unveiled its Celerra NX4 device today, which it is touting as a way for smaller users to get a slice of enterprise storage.

It’s the new entry-point for Celerra,” explains Brad Bunce, EMC’s director of Celerra product marketing. “We want to go smaller because customers are asking for a more cost-effective solution in the sub-$50,000 space.”

Based on EMC’s Clariion AX4 offering, the NX4 can be deployed in NAS, iSCSI, and Fibre Channel environments, whereas the AX4 was limited to iSCSI and Fibre Channel.

The 5 rack-unit high NX4 is now being sold as EMC’s low-end Celerra offering, sitting below the vendor’s 7 rack-unit high NS20 and NS40 devices.

“The reason why we’re bringing this to market is because customers have had great demand for the Celerra products, particularly at the low end,” explains Bunce, adding that the NX4 offers between 4 and 60 Tbytes of storage. The NS20 and NS40, in contrast, scale up to 90 Tbytes and 240 Tbytes, respectively.Like the NS20 and NS40, the NX4 comes with thin provisioning , although there are other key differences, according to Bunce.

“The big difference is that the NX4 has a smaller footprint, and it also provides the ability to combine SAS and SATA drives in the same shelf,” says the exec.

The NX4, which is available now, is also priced below the higher-end Celerras, starting at $20,375 for an entry-level configuration, compared to $32,000 for an entry-level NS20.

EMC, which is aiming the NX4 at NetApp’s FAS2020, was nonetheless unable to conjure up any early adopters using the technology, although at least one EMC customer is considering the device.

"It would be something that we would be interested in,” says Jeff Janover, director of technology at Wall Township Public Schools in New Jersey.The exec told Byte and Switch that he already uses an EMC AX100 device within his SAN infrastructure, although this is almost full to its 3-Tbyte Fibre Channel capacity.

“The NX Series being able to mix [SAS and] SATA drives and give iSCSI connectivity would let me use different types of drives,” he says, adding that his familiarity with EMC’s AX product line is another point in the NX4’s favor.

At least one analyst thinks that the NX4 represents a step in the right direction for EMC, particularly at a time when the worlds of SMB and enterprise storage are converging.

“EMC has created a product that’s a very powerful solution for small businesses, but is also flexible enough to support workgroup and remote office-type applications for enterprises,” says Charles King principal analyst of Pund-IT Research. ““Obviously, it supports common small business applications like Exchange, but it also supports more business-focused applications like SQL Server, Oracle, and VMware ESX Server.”

The analyst also feels that by offering different types of storage in the same array, EMC is opening SMBs up to more enterprise-type features. “By being able to support SATA and SAS, a small business could use the NX4 to support tiered storage strategies in a single box,” he says.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)

  • NetApp Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP)

  • Pund-IT Inc.

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