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EMC Hits Hardware Refresh

EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), which spent $3.63 billion on software companies last year, today served up a reminder that it is still primarily a hardware company.

EMC refreshed its storage networking products across the board, announcing changes to its Symmetrix and Clariion SAN, Celerra NAS, and Centera content addressed storage (CAS) systems.

With the new releases, EMC is looking to emphasize its role as a supplier of tiered storage, taking particular pains to enhance mainframe support in response to recent announcements from IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM). It's also taking aim at a perception that EMC has sacrificed hardware priorities in an effort to compete in the software arena.

"When we bought Legato and Documentum, everybody was saying we're trying to become a software company," Chuck Hollis, VP of platforms marketing at EMC. "We still do hardware."

EMC's new launches include:

  • Symmetrix DMX-2: a higher end of the enterprise Symmetrix DMX platform EMC rolled out a year ago (see EMC Enters the Matrix). EMC claims DMX-2 has twice the processing power and cache memory space as the original DMX, which it will continue to sell and support. EMC is touting an added feature called AutoSwap, which lets businesses migrate data and applications without interruption from the mainframe for load balancing or disaster recovery. This feature is similar to IBM's Geographically Dispersed Parallel Sysplex (GDPS) software.
  • New midrange Clariion systems: EMC is replacing the CX200, CX400, and CX600 models with the CX300, CX500, and CX700. EMC claims the new Clariions run from 25 percent to 100 percent faster than their predecessors, depending on the model, with no price increase.
  • Celerra NS700G NAS gateway: EMC says this product serves as a front-end to Symmetrix and Clariion systems, and to the Celerra NS700 NAS filer, a new product that replaces the Celerra NS600. The NAS gateway follows IBM's new NAS gateway, announced two weeks ago (see IBM Swings New NAS Gateway). Like IBM, EMC sees a trend toward pooling data residing on both NAS and SANs. "There's a shift in the NAS market to a gateway deployment that started in 2003 and is going strong now," says Hollis. "The shift is to people who want to deploy NAS in addition to SAN."
  • Centera mainframe connectivity: EMC has added native mainframe connectivity for Centera CAS systems, through an application programming interface (API) that supports IBM's z/OS mainframe. EMC also claims the enhanced Centera systems double data replication speeds over previous models.
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