EMC Unveils New Clariion Array With Improved Symmetrix Compatibility


EMC on Monday unveiled the Clariion CX600, the first of a new family of storage arrays aimed at tightening the bonds between EMC's midrange Clariion and high-end Symmetrix array product lines.

The CX600 allows a maximum capacity of 17 Tbytes of data using up to 240 hard disks in a single rack. Processing power, bandwidth, cached I/O speed, external connects and number of mirrored LUNs are now two to four times those of the previous generation of Clariion arrays, said Joel Schwartz, senior vice president and general manager of the Clariion Systems Division.

More importantly, software for the new Clariion is more closely tied to the Symmetrix-specific software than ever before, Schwartz said. Symmetrix-compatible software, drivers and adapters can now be run on the Clariion, cutting down on training and support requirements for SANs running both arrays, he said.

Furthermore, EMC's MirrorView application, which provides synchronous data replication between geographically separated Clariion systems for disaster recovery and business continuity, now offers an IP connectivity option that extends the distance between CX600 arrays via Minneapolis-based CNT's UltraNet Edge Storage Router.

"If a customer has a Symmetrix, you can now deploy a Clariion and share many of the Symmetrix applications [such as PowerPath, DB Tuner and StorageScope in a way no competitor could do," Schwartz said. "Many competitors can't do that internally. Not Sun with its T3 and Hitachi arrays, or IBM with its T-series and Shark. They don't have common software."

The new Clariions are available now to EMC's channel partners, including its biggest reseller, Dell Computer.

List price for the Clariion CX600, including 180 Gbytes of raw capacity and 4 Gbytes of cache, is $115,000 from EMC, including warranty, services and installation. The Dell list price for the same configuration is $62,000 for the array only, but rises to $98,000 when installation and three years of service are added.

A midrange version is expected in a few months, while an entry-level version is slated for six to eight months later, Schwartz said. Both EMC and Dell will manufacture the entry-level model, but EMC's solution providers will resell the EMC version, he said.

Scott Slack, vice president of marketing at EMC solution provider Adexis, the storage division of Cranel, Columbus, Ohio, said the ability to integrate the Clariion with the Symmetrix is a good play.

"EMC has been pushing their software capabilities, so this plays well against that," Slack said. "So for larger companies, they can now integrate non-Symmetrix products with Symmetrix arrays. This cuts the cost of integration, maintenance and training. It's always easier if new products conform to existing systems. There isn't a single shop in the country not trying to minimize expenditures."

Kevin Reith, manager of strategic technology at Info Systems, a Wilmington, Del.-based solution provider, said he is excited to see EMC bring its Clariion and Symmetrix software together. "Thank God for that," he said. "In the past, you had the Symmetrix division software and the Clariion division software. Then, nine months ago, they reorganized, so the hardware divisions and software divisions are now in alignment."

With everyone pushing to the channel and the SMB space, the new arrays can only help EMC, Reith said. "They're trying to make a value proposition in the SMB space."

The fact that future EMC arrays might be manufactured in conjunction with Dell does not bother Reith. "Who makes it is not important," he said. "I believe in the virtual organization. Do what you do best, and let others do the rest. So it doesn't bother me. What's more important is how they support and market the products."

Hope Hayes, president of Alliance Technology Group, a Hanover, Md.-based EMC partner, called the new Clariions a "really slick" family. "The connectivity with EMC's Symmetrix will be a strong selling point," Hayes said. "I don't know the world is begging for it, but it's a good feature for the arrays."

Hayes said she is more concerned about turnover in EMC's channel sales team. "We'll have someone come in, promise to work with us and come visit us every week," she said. "They just go away. Either they get laid off or moved to another position. So we haven't seen them for a long while."

EMC is embracing the channel more than ever before, and the new Clariion gives solution providers great opportunities to engage with their customers on high-density solutions at great prices, said Lance Sedlak, director of marketing for enterprise storage at Arrow Electronics, an Englewood, Colo.-based distributor.

Sedlak said the new Clariion marks the first time that EMC has made Arrow an integrated part of the product launch by making sure that Arrow has had all the necessary products and training before the new product became available. "This is a major step for EMC in the channel," he said.