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EMC Cultivates Clariion

When EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) upgraded its enterprise Symmetrix systems last week, it concentrated on speeds and feeds” without doing much for functionality (see EMC Swells Its High End). EMC took a different approach with the new midrange Clariion systems announced today -- beefing up functionality while keeping the capacity and throughput the same (see EMC Upgrades Clariion).

The new systems -- the Clariion CX 300-s, CX 500-s, and CX 700-s -- include a new disk enclosure architecture for point-to-point connectivity between controllers and drives and software enhancements. They're intended to replace the CX 300, 500, and 700 models. The "s" is for scale.

Barry Ader, EMC’s director of
Clariion marketing, says Clariion customers had enough capacity to grow into but need help managing that growth. “As systems get larger, they get more complex,” he says. “Customers have more to manage.”

Clariion was due for an upgrade. It has been 18 months since EMC last spruced it up, and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) have all announced midrange upgrades since April (see EMC Hits Hardware Refresh, IBM Drives 4-Gbit/s), Hitachi Plans Midrange Rollout, and HP Plans EVA Facelift).

The biggest change in Clariion is the point-to-point disk array enclosures with drive-level fault detection, isolation, and diagnosis capabilities. EMC calls this UltraPoint Technology, and it replaces Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop (FC-AL). Industry buzz says EMC is using Emulex Corp. (NYSE: ELX) embedded switches in the enclosures, but EMC denies this. Ader says the alteration comes mostly from updates to EMC's Flare operating system with minor architectural changes.

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