EMC Makes Host Of ImprovementsTo DMX Family, Reduces Entry Price

On the hardware side, the company introduced the Symmetrix DMX3000--EMC's new flagship array--which now offers twice the capacity and twice the performance of its existing DMX2000, said David Donatelli, executive vice president for storage platforms operations.

The DMX3000 has a capacity of up to 576 hard drives, for a total raw capacity of more than 84 Tbytes and usable capacity of up to 73.5 Tbytes, said Donatelli. Because of its new direct matrix architecture, the performance was able to double along with the capacity, he said. "This is important. Customers need predictable performance when consolidating their storage environments," Donatelli said.

EMC also introduced a new lower-cost version of its DMX800, the entry-level version of its DMX line. The DMX800 can now be configured for eight 73-Gbyte hard drives, or about 400 Gbytes, at a price of $284,000, said Chuck Hollis, vice president of platforms marketing at EMC, Hopkinton, Mass. This compares with about $450,000 for the old minimum configuration of 20 146-Gbyte hard drives, he said.

"When we built the DMX800, we had the channel in mind," Hollis said. "But when we showed it to the channel, they said it was still expensive."

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Hollis said EMC will continue to work on bringing down the entry price of the DMX800. "The channel wants something that can start fairly downmarket and grow," he said. "There are opportunities to do better in that regard."

EMC's DMX family is also being enhanced with the added capability of nondisruptive operation when customers are upgrading, reconfiguring or maintaining their storage infrastructures, without affecting their storage uptime, said Donatelli.

In addition, the connectivity of the DMX family was enhanced with the addition of native iSCSI capabilities, which Donatelli said let the arrays connect to low-costs iSCSI and high-performance Fibre Channel SANs at the same time. "With this announcement, DMX becomes the industry's best-connected storage," he said.

The DMX family is also getting native Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, allowing the arrays to connect to SANs without additional Gigabit Ethernet switches, said Donatelli. Also new is the FICON protocol, which provides connectivity for mainframes, he said.

On the software side, EMC is offering a new version of its SRDF remote data replication application. The SRDF/A features asynchronous replication for greater distance compared with SRDF's synchronous implementation.

However, to overcome the traditional performance hit that comes from asynchronous replication, all replication is done using cache memory, said Hollis. Unlike competing products that send a change every time one is made, the SRDF/A replication is done every 30 seconds to cut the amount of changes sent and improve performance by 30 percent compared with the competition, he said. "We found that where customers have deployed remote replication, they're always 20 to 30 minutes behind anyway," he said. "So 30 seconds is a big win for them."

Also new is EMC Snap, which Hollis said is the first local data snapshot function for enterprise-class storage. EMC Snap requires an additional target storage capacity equal to about 30 percent of the source data, compared with a target capacity of 100 percent for EMC's TimeFinder mirror-imaging tool, said Hollis.

Hollis said that all snapshot applications affect performance, and that EMC won't have performance figures for EMC Snap until this Fall. "For now, it's a kind of a 'trust us on this,' " he said.

Since its introduction in February, the DMX line has become an important part of EMC's product line, accounting for about 80 percent of the company's Symmetrix revenue in the second quarter, said Joe Tucci, EMC's president and CEO.

The new EMC hardware and software offerings are expected to ship in September, company executives said.