Cox Communications

Cable company taps Dell/EMC tag team for network storage

October 11, 2002

3 Min Read
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Introductions are nice, but when they actually lead to a deal, they are lip-smackingly good, especially in this market. Dell Computer Corp.'s (Nasdaq: DELL) recent introduction of EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) to Cox Communications Inc. (NYSE: COX) is one such treat, as the cable company is about to deploy EMC's new Clariion CX400 in several of its remote offices (see EMC Moves Downmarket With CX400).

Dell and EMC hooked up one year ago in order for Dell to resell EMC's midtier and low-end products. The arrangement appears to be paying off well for both companies (see Dell Does Well, Bombay Company Picks Dell, EMC, Dell, EMC Sell SAN to French Cafe, Dell, EMC Integrate, BT, EMC, Dell Offer SSP Service, Dell, EMC Update Software, and Dell and EMC Do a Deal).

Atlanta-based Cox Communications -- a Dell shop with more than 300 servers -- is one of the largest broadband communications companies in the U.S., serving close to 6 million customers in about 20 states. To manage the multiple terabytes of data associated with its customer base, Cox has three EMC Symmetrix boxes installed in the data center at its headquarters. And since Dell began plugging the rest of EMC's product line, Cox's purchase orders with EMC have rapidly gone up.

Cox has 25 remote sites and has deployed EMC Clariion FC4700s in six of them, with plans to add two to three more of the updated CX400 version of this product in the coming months. Eventually, Cox intends for all 25 sites to be running storage networks as opposed to direct-attached setups.

Cox says its move towards SANs, with EMC as its primary supplier, is because of the communications company's longstanding partnership with Dell. "They influenced this a good deal," says David Hanna, enterprise architect at Cox. "Dell has given us a level of confidence in the EMC product line. We can continue to expect the service we get on the server platform."The overall goal of the IT organization at Cox is to build efficiencies into its existing resources. "With the economy where it is, we have to do more with less," Hanna says. It's a familiar story. That said, "a good deal" of Cox's budget is finding its way into new storage products to enable consolidation. "With the maturing of our infrastructure, it makes sense for us to take advantage of SANs and consolidate our Unix and Intel environments, instead of managing these as separate islands," Hanna says.

As far as the new Clariion CX400 goes, Hanna is satisfied with the results. This product is the sixth in EMC's Clariion line and replaces the FC4700, although EMC will continue to support the older product, says Chuck Hollis, VP of markets and products at EMC.

The CX400 shares the same software as its big brother, the CX600, but has a maximum capacity of 4.3 TBytes where the CX600 goes up to 17.2 TBytes. Host ports supported per array on the CX400, hosts per array, and LUNs supported are all about half the number as the CX600 (see EMC Revs Up Clariion).

It is designed to compete head on with Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) and to a lesser extent IBM Corp.

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