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EMC Revamps SMB Lineup

EMC is revamping its low-end SAN systems with the launch of its Clariion AX4 device today. The AX4 will replace EMC's low-end AX150 and CX300, reflecting the vendor's growing emphasis on smaller users.

"Storage in the SMB marketplace is growing at a very high rate," says Barry Ader, senior director of storage product marketing at EMC. He says virtualization and iSCSI are helping drive interest in small, expandable systems.

The AX4 can be configured with either 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel or iSCSI, and EMC is emphasizing the latter. "We're seeing a lot of adoption around iSCSI -- about 50 percent of our SMB portfolio goes out with iSCSI," Ader says. "We see most of the entry-level customers going with it."

Unlike EMC's AX150, the AX4 offers a mixture of both SAS and SATA drives within the same enclosure. And with up to 45 Tbytes of capacity, EMC is substantially increasing the scaleability for SMBs. The AX150 hit the ceiling at 9 Tbytes and the CX300 at 22 Tbytes. EMC plans the AX4's maximum capacity to reach 60 Tbytes in March with the arrival of 1-Tbyte SATA drives.

EMC also unveiled a number of software enhancements for the AX4 today, which include a MetaLUN feature for expanding capacity on the fly, and VirtualLUN, which shifts data from one part of the system to another. "Now a customer can take information that may sit on a high- performing SAS drive and move it to a SATA drive without bringing the application down," says Ader.

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