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EMC Mounts iSCSI Blitz

EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) is looking to grab first-time SAN users with its new iSCSI Clariion systems, while leaving its current installed base on Fibre Channel (see EMC Rolls Out IP SAN).

We view this as the next step not only in iSCSI, but the next step in building our product line for the SMB market,” says Tom Joyce, EMC’s senior director of platforms marketing. “Existing Fibre Channel SAN customers are going to stay with Fibre Channel.”

To recap: EMC's new systems include the AX100i, CX300i, and CX500i. The AX100i is a SATA-only system aimed at SMBs, while the CX IP SANs connect to SATA or Fibre Channel drives and seem to target a specific portion of the midrange SAN market.

EMC's pushing the AX100i -- which Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL)
will also sell -- as its entry-level IP SAN. This product hearkens back to EMC’s early SMB strategy, which started with the introduction of the AX100, the company's first Fibre Channel SAN for SMBs, last May (see EMC, Dell Get Small With SATA, EMC to Serve Up IP SANs, EMC Rolls Out IP SAN, and Dell Enters IP SAN Game).

Price is key here. The SMB market was considered a sweet spot for iSCSI initially, but while early IP SANs were priced below enterprise level, they were still high for SMBs (see IP SANs: Coming of Age). EMC says it will sell the AX100i at around $6,000 with single-controller, 500-Gbyte capacity. Dell lists the entry-level AX100i at $5,000, around the same price as the IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) DS300 iSCSI system launched last September (see IBM Slips iSCSI Into SAN).

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