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EMC's Centera Upgrade Deconstructed

Ever since reporting on anticipated Centera upgrades last spring, I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop. But EMC's latest Centera enhancement seems pretty innocuous, if you ask me. (In truth, no one has, but that's beside the point!)

In a nutshell, Centera's operating system, CentraStar 4.0, has been tweaked with a number of seemingly minor improvements that don't really herald the dramatic overhaul some industry observers have led us to expect. Here are the upgrades:

Upgrade No. 1: Ability of Centera software to recognize 25 million data objects instead of about 12.5 million.

At least one analyst says this is important. According to Arun Taneja of the Taneja Group, customers complained about former limitations of Centera to handle multiple small files (email messages being the classic example). They worked around the issue, he says, by creating larger files or objects containing lots of little ones. This in turn led to taking an extra step or two when a data item needed to be located.

"It's all about how quickly you can do something," Taneja says. Having the object immediately searchable will save time. It also avoids any ingestion delays that may be caused when a large file or object ties up the system because it has to be searched to locate a smaller item.

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