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EMC's ix12-300r NAS Beefs Up Capacity

Iomega, purchased by EMC Corp. in July, 2008, is announcing the StorCenter ix12-300r network storage array, a product intended to bridge the gap between the two companies' product lines. The product is aimed at organizations of from 100 to 250 users and it consists of up to 12 drives of 1TB or 2TB each, giving the entire unit a capacity of up to 24TB. Though it is intended for the office environment, it is a rack-mounted
2U unit that goes into a data center. It is particularly suited for
production, backup, virtualization, Microsoft Exchange, and video
surveillance functions, giving both backup and video surveillance
administrators the opportunity to get rid of tape.

"Prior to the introduction of the ix12, there was a step missing between Iomega's ix4-200r and EMC's AX4 products," says Liz Conner, senior research analyst for storage systems and personal storage at IDC Corp. "Many companies had to step up to the AX4, as the ix4 did not meet their storage requirements, either in terms of capacity or features. However, the AX4 is a true enterprise product -- albeit an entry-level one, but was still rather complicated and intimidating to the small and medium business. Hence, the ix12 really is the best of both worlds between these two products, as well as representing the logical step in product families between the ix4 and AX4."

Pricing is the product's key differentiator, Conner says. "The price point is one that is more traditionally associated with a Personal Storage vendor, whereas the product itself brings many features and functions to the table -- more than the traditional personal storage offering," she says. The product uses all SATA drives, which helps lower the cost, Krone
says. Microsoft recently modified Exchange's architecture to use large
block sequential writes instead of the small block random I/O writes it
had used previously. SATA drives typically don't perform well with the
latter kind of architecture.

While the product fits between the Iomega and EMC lines, it isn't hot-swappable with higher-end models. "You can't quite pop them out," says Jay Krone, senior director of EMC's consumer and small business products divisio. However, users can migrate data to an EMC drive using Iomega's device-to-device copy facility. "There are additional technologies to help people migrate, but there's not data-in-place as there is with the Clariion family," he says. The device does support EMC's LifeLine software.

The StorCenter ix12-300r offers four Gigabit Ethernet connections and an Intel Core2Duo CPU. It also includes three USB 2.0 ports to support an uninterruptible power supply in the event of a power failure, or to connect external storage. It is also designed to be easy to support. "All the components that tend to fail, such as fans, power supplies, and the drives themselves, are all hot-swappable, user-replaceable, and redundant," Krone says. It now also supports up to RAID 6. The StorCenter ix12-300r will be available May 10 starting at $4,999.99 for the 4TB model.