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EMC Unveils Celerra Unified Storage Systems

12:10 PM -- Unified storage systems enable the integration of IP network-attached storage (NAS) for file serving with block-based storage applications that use either iSCSI or Fibre Channel. A unified storage system is basically stand-alone (where the storage is included as part of the system), but a gateway (where a choice of backend storage is permitted) can deliver equivalent functionality.

Organizations that are heavy NAS users have found that they can use such systems to consolidate their block-based storage requirements with their NAS requirements, thus gaining all the benefits that entails -- cost savings through better storage utilization, improved manageability, a common management interface, and simplified backup processes. That message has resonated well in the market as both EMC and its chief competitors, NetApp and IBM, have discovered. EMC reports that its NAS Celerra system sales are growing 40 percent year-over-year, which is good in normal times but outstanding considering the current economic environment.

EMC recently announced three new models of its unified storage platform -- the Celerra NS-120, NS-480, and NS-960. Each replaces a model in the previous Celerra generation and doubles the raw capacity of the system it replaces -- raw capacity is expressed in the new model numbers, i.e., 120 TB, 480 TB, and 960 TB, respectively. These new models use the latest generation of CLARiiON technology, the CX4 storage systems, so they inherit all the properties and characteristics that those systems enjoy. CLARiiON is EMC's midrange storage platform brand. The current generation that was introduced last year, the CX4, is based upon a new architecture, which EMC calls its UltraFlex technology. The UltraFlex technology enables the use of dual protocols (FC and iSCSI) and offers greater expandability.

The new Celerra systems target customers with Windows/Linux file server environments that also use Exchange and/or SQL Server. In addition, most of these target environments are likely to use VMware for server virtualization and many are adopting Oracle for database-based applications.

Along with the trio of new systems, EMC announced its NS-G8 Celerra gateway platform, which replaces a previous model and adds NAS and iSCSI capability to an existing Fibre Channel SAN. As such, the gateway connects to a CLARiiON and/or Symmetrix SAN. The target environments are Windows/Linux servers that may also run VMware or Oracle, plus specific functions that can include media, software development, or engineering.

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