EMC Unleashes Wide Range Of New Hardware; Dell Does Its Part On Clariion

"We believe this is the most comprehensive product launch in EMC's history," said Chuck Hollis, vice president of platforms marketing at the Hopkinton, Mass.,-based vendor.

For the product most seen in the channel, EMC introduced three new Clariion midrange arrays expected to eventually replace the three models currently being sold, Hollis said.

The Clariion CX300 will replace the CX200 and should bump up performance by about 25 percent. The CX500 will replace the CX400 and offer double the older unit's performance and capacity. And the CX700 offers a 33 percent bump in performance over the CX600, which it will eventually replace, said Hollis.

The new Clariion arrays will be sold at the same price as the older models. EMC will also offer solution providers controllers that can be swapped into previously installed Clariions to bring them up to the newest performance capabilities, Hollis said. "Module in, module out," he said. "Quick and painless."

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Production of the current CX200, CX400 and CX600 arrarys will continue for the time being. "But we think demand will ramp down pretty quick," said Hollis.

Software for the Clariion models has also been upgraded, and the upgrades are compatible with previously installed Clariions, including the older FC4700, Hollis said. The SAN Copy application now offers incremental copy capabilities and supports IBM's FAStT and ESS, Sun Microsystems' T3 and Hewlett-Packard's MSA1000 and EVA3000 arrays. Modules for Exchange 2003 and SQL Server have also been added to the Clariion's SnapView replication software.

Dell, EMC's biggest channel partner, is also introducing the new Clariions to its product line.

Dell, which according to research firm IDC has the fastest year-over-year revenue growth of the top storage vendors, will produce the Clariion CX300 for its customers but not for EMC's own channels, Hollis said. Dell currently produces the CX200 under similar restrictions.

Starting prices for the Dell/EMC CX300, including five 73-Gbyte hard drives, EMC's Navisphere software, installation and a three-year service contract, is $23,860, Dell said.

EMC is also doubling the performance of its enterprise-class Symmetrix DMX-2 arrays with new PowerPC processors, larger cache memory, support for 15,000-rpm hard drives and new RAID 5 capabilities, Hollis said.

On the NAS side, EMC is replacing its NS600 series of NAS appliances with the NS700 series, said Hollis. Among the new line is the NS700G, which has a NAS controller that can be separated from its integrated storage for connection to a SAN to allow NAS data to be managed on that SAN, he said.

EMC also is upgrading its Centera arrays, aimed at the storing of fixed content for compliance issues, with mainframe connectivity, faster processors, Gigabit Ethernet connectivity and support for 320-Gbyte ATA hard drives, said Hollis.

In addition, the company is finally supporting the SMI-S (storage management interface specification) way of allowing multivendor software support of heterogeneous storage devices, Hollis said. Most other major vendors already support SMI-S. "SMI-S is not unique," he said. "But our version is . . . the only one to allow customers to run existing SAN applications and new SMI-S applications side-by-side."

Mark Teter, CTO of Advanced Systems Group, a Denver-based solution provider, said EMC is executing incredibly well on both the channel and product sides. "It's great to see how well they're working," Teter said. "They have a lot of options for customers. If you don't partner with EMC, you're missing a trip."

Teter said EMC's NAS products have been among the industry's best-kept secrets, and it is surprising how long it has taken a vendor to seriously challenge Network Appliance in the enterprise NAS space. "This could be another thing that causes NetApp pain," he said. "A flexible approach to NAS is what the enterprise wants."