EMC Expands SMB Array, HDS Expands Midrange


They include EMC and its new small-business array, Hitachi Data Systems and its new midrange array, and Microsoft with a remote iSCSI boot solution.

EMC used the conference to introduce its Clariion AX150, a follow-on to the AX100, introduced about two years ago as the vendor's first small-business offering.

The AX150 includes two iSCSI front-end connections, making each array available to up to 10 hosts, said Larry Zulch, vice president and general manager at EMC, Hopkinton, Mass.

It supports the latest generation of Serial ATA (SATA) hard drives with a capacity ranging from 750 Gbytes to 6.0 Tbytes, and allows users to save up to eight concurrent data snapshots, double the number of the AX100, Zulch said.

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The AX150 is available now, with a starting list price of $5,600 with 750 Gbytes of capacity, said Zulch.

The AX150 is replacing the AX100 in EMC's Insignia small-business storage lineup, which includes a full range of small-business editions of many of the vendor's storage software applications. The AX100 will be shortly phased out, Zulch said.

In addition to Tech Data, which was EMC's original distribution of its Insignia line, the line is now also available from Ingram Micro, said Zulch.

Hitachi Data Systems is aiming squarely at the midrange storage market and EMC's Clariion CX700 with its new AMS1000 array, said CTO Hu Yoshida.

The introduction of the AMS1000 replaces the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company's Thunder 9585V and effectively closes out its Thunder family of arrays, said Yoshida.

The AMS1000 offers a cached bandwidth of 13 GBps, which is 70 percent faster than the 9585V, Yoshida said. It has a 4-GBps Fibre Channel interface, compared with the 9585V's 2-GBps interface, and doubles the older model's cache to 16 Gbytes, he said.

The array's capacity can be partitioned into up to 32 logical cache partitions to ensure that problems with one application will not affect others, Yoshida said. It also allows users to choose any combination of two connectivity protocols simultaneously, including iSCSI, NAS and Fibre Channel.

By year-end, both Fibre Channel and SATA drives will be able to be simultaneously configured in an AMS1000 for nondisruptive data movement across multiple tiers of storage in a rack, with SAS drives also available shortly afterward, said Yoshida.

The AMS1000 is available now to HDS solution providers.

Microsoft, meanwhile, introduced a remote iSCSI boot solution for blade servers based on technology co-developed with IBM.

The solution is aimed at customers and solution providers that want to take advantage of diskless blade servers in order to cut the power required and the heat generated by such servers, said Claude Lorenson, group product manager of Microsoft's Storage Division, Redmond, Wash.

Previously, Microsoft supported remote boot to hardware iSCSI initiators, which required the blade servers to have a hard drive, said Lorenson.

The technology will be available to blade server vendors and to ISVs, with IBM the first to take advantage of it, Lorenson said. "Server vendors or network interface card vendors need to change the code in their products," he said. "IBM is already doing the change in their server BIOS."

Lorenson also said that Microsoft's iSCSI target technology, which it acquired last month from String Bean Software, will be part of the company's Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 operating system when the OS is released in June or July. The technology allows the building of NAS appliances that can also serve as iSCSI arrays. Up to eight of these arrays will be able to be clustered together, with performance increasing as the number of nodes goes up, he said.