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EMC Swells Its High End

As expected, EMC today announced its new Symmetrix SAN arrays with significantly expanded capacity (see EMC Rolls Out New Symmetrix).

The DMX-3 is the third in EMC's Symmetrix dynasty, following the original DMX launched in February 2003 and the DMX-2 in February 2004 (see EMC Soups Up Symm and EMC Hits Hardware Refresh). The DMX-3 will be available in September, although much of the capacity enhancement wont come until 2006.

Among the new features:

  • Capacity: DMX-3 will scale to 1 Pbyte of capacity by the end of 2006, up from 172 TBytes in the largest DMX-2. Systems will support 960 disk drives upon launch, 1,920 drives in the first half of 2006, and more than 2,000 drives by the end of 2006.
  • Drives: The largest drives initially will be 300 Gbytes, but low-cost Fibre Channel drives from Seagate Technology Inc. (NYSE: STX)
    will be available in 400-GByte and 500-Gbyte configurations in the first half of 2006. The new drives will cost around the same as SATA drives while performing better than SATA but not as well as current Fibre Channel drives. The new drives are targeted for backup and secondary storage.
  • Cache: DMX-3 will support twice as much global cache as DMX-2. DMX-3 supports up to 512 Gbytes of cache, and is the first Symmetrix to include mirrored cache that Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) feature in their enterprise systems. Mirrored cache uses a second cache to store data as a backup in case the primary memory fails.
  • Software: The new gear features data migration software for mainframes and open systems (see EMC, Softek Announce LDMF). Logical Data Migration Facility (LDMF) software developed with Softek Storage Solutions Inc. helps customers move data from old mainframe systems to larger storage arrays without losing access to the data. LDMF automatically resizes volumes when migrating data. Another product, Open Migrator/LM, developed solely by EMC, moves Windows or Unix-based data without interruption.

EMC did not provide specific pricing for the new systems, but the DMX line begins at around $250,000 and the highest-end DMX-3 systems will cost more than $1 million. EMC will continue to sell previous DMX systems.

One surprise: Industry scuttlebutt last week said the new systems would support 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel gear, but EMC platforms marketing VP Tom Joyce says EMC will stick with 2-Gbit/s FC until more 4-Gbit/s switches, HBAs, and hard drives are out to support the technology. “That’s an emerging technology, and we fully intend to support it on all our platforms when we’re confident it’s ready,” Joyce said of 4-Gig.

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