Reports: EMC to Replace Centera

Speculation grows that EMC will unveil new version with improved scaleability, performance UPDATED 5/2 10:40 AM

May 2, 2007

2 Min Read
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EMC will replace its Centera content-addressable storage (CAS) system with an entirely new product developed in house to address issues of scaling and performance, sources say.

EMC released Centera in April 2002, and now claims more than 3,500 customers for the system -- nearly 150 petabytes installed. But just after its fifth birthday, the market-leading CAS product is allegedly set for a makeover that could disrupt customers, while improving some long-standing drawbacks.

One problem has apparently been the MD5 algorithm EMC uses to track files in Centera. "There's been a lot written about the hashing problems and performance," says Arun Taneja of the Taneja Group consultancy, who had not heard the rumors of a new Centera.

One source, who works for a competing company, said EMC is aiming to make Centera more scaleable while clearing up complaints that MD5 hashing is too slow. "Called internally Centera 2, the new version will likely have better performance and be more scaleable. The processing will likely be separate from the storage," the source says.

All this is speculation. After this article was initially published, EMC, which had initially declined to comment on the rumor, sent the following email response:

  • EMC has no intention of replacing Centera. Investment protection for our customers has been and will always be of utmost importance as we continue to lead and drive innovation into the Content Addressable Storage market. The article suggests an entirely new architecture for content addressed storage, which is not accurate. All of our products are updated on a regular basis. While we are not going to get into specifics or timeframes, Centera is no different. There have been numerous Centera enhancements over the past five years to address customers' evolving and new uses for fixed content. Any changes planned for Centera will be evolutionary, not revolutionary. Customers can be rest assured that EMC will continue to deliver the leading capabilities and technology while protecting their existing Centera investments.

Speculation centers on how disruptive a new version may or may not be for existing customers, especially if a new platform is introduced that will require migration from the old one.

"They are coming out with a much more capable version. So in essence, yes, the current Centera will be 'deep sixed' after the new product comes out," states one analyst, who asked to remain anonymous.

EMC has listed numerous customers for Centera, including Korea Exchange Bank, Cincinnati Insurance Co., Anna Amalia Library, and MidAmerica Bank, to name just a few. One of these, Paul Stonchus, VP and data center manager at MidAmerica Bank, says he hasn't heard of any new version. He's had no problems with performance or hashing since installing Centera in 2004. (See MidAmerica Takes Back DR.)

Other users and channel partners called for comment were unavailable at press time.

Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Taneja Group0

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