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EMC to Serve Up IP SANs

will turn the heat up on Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP) and a handful of startups gaining traction with IP SANs when it rolls out new iSCSI Clariion systems later this month.

Industry sources say EMC will announce iSCSI versions of its low-end Clariion AX100 and midrange Clarion CX300 and CX500 platforms in mid-February and begin shipping in March. EMC will bring out single and dual-controller AX100i systems, and dual-controller CX300i and CX500i systems. On the high end, the CX500i will use four processors and hold up to 120 drives.

If all goes as anticipated, the rollout will be the most extensive iSCSI offering yet from any major Fibre Channel SAN player. But it won't be EMC's first foray into iSCSI. According to IDC (see NetApp Banks on iSCSI), EMC actually ranked second in the iSCSI market for the third quarter 2004, with a 22.1 percent share. EMC has offered native iSCSI for its high-end Symmetrix SANs and Celerra NAS systems, but not the Clariion line (see Is EMC Overshooting on iSCSI?).

NAS titan Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP) has been the acknowledged iSCSI SAN leader up to now, with 43.1 percent of the market from the third quarter of last year by IDC's reckoning.

Meanwhile, other big players are also expanding their iSCSI footprints. IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) is in the early stages of selling an entry level iSCSI system through an OEM deal with Adaptec Inc. (Nasdaq: ADPT). (See IBM Slips iSCSI Into SAN.)

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