Looking to regain momentum in the midrange storage market, EMC has refreshed its Clariion line with three new models. At the same time, rival Network Appliance is taking on EMC in the high end of the market with its largest-scale storage platform to date.
EMC's long-anticipated Clariion CX3 series fills in the sweet spot of the storage market: midsize enterprises and departmental systems. The company's new UltraScale architecture has double the capacity of the line it replaces, the CX Series, says Barbara Robidoux, EMC's vice president of platforms marketing.
"It's going to redefine the midrange storage business," Robidoux says.
The new models have upgraded processors, and support 4-Gbps connectivity, native PCI Express and cache mirroring with a five-fold performance advantage. Using EMC's SnapView, MirrorView and San Copy software, the company says the new systems can replicate 30 percent faster.
"The net impact is it lowers latency, and it's got higher bandwidth design," Robidoux says. "What we are seeing is up to two times improvement in performance and scale across a variety of applications."
Nevertheless, these are incremental improvements in performance that will help EMC keep pace with its competitors in the midrange, says Gartner analyst Robert Passmore.
"There is no massive, new breakthrough in software functionality," Passmore says.
EMC was several months overdue in its upgrade cycle of the midrange, he adds. Anticipation of the CX3 Series led customers to hold up on upgrades in the past quarter, causing the company to slightly miss EMC's earnings estimates.
The CX3 Series comprises:
All three systems are available immediately.
NetApp's High-End Play
NetApp's new FAS6000 Series is designed to take on EMC's DMX line as well as TagmaStore from Hitachi Data Systems (which is also offered by Sun and Hewlett-Packard for their respective high-end storage platforms).
The FAS6000 is for mission-critical implementations, such as SAP and Oracle. NetApp's new offering scales to 500 TB via more than 1,000 tiered drives (SATA and Fiber Channel), offers high-availability, dual-parity RAID, and supports block and file storage.
This is the first time NetApp has gone for the high end of the market, says CEO Dan Warmenhoven.
"We've always been a little bit smaller or had a little less throughput; this system is right on par with the biggest in the industry," he says.
Because the FAS6000 is based on NetApp's modular platform, DataOnTap, the company says it now has a more scalable offering from the midrange and up.
Gartner's Passmore believes NetApp's new offering will create more of a challenge to HDS, HP and Sun than it will EMC.
"Is there an element of targeting EMC? Yes, but I think it's a pretty logical evolution of a path they've been on for some period of time," Passmore says. "It's not expected to cause a sudden runoff in revenue for EMC. EMC is probably less vulnerable in the data center than others."
Just like NetApp's other products, the FAS6000 will be available through the company's channel partners, albeit larger ones accustomed to working with large enterprise data center customers.