EMC To Unveil Sub-$6,000 Channel-Only AX100 Array

Yet that is the case as EMC, Hopkinton, Mass., on Wednesday gears up to launch its smallest, lowest-cost storage array ever, and plans for it to be aimed exclusively at the channel.

The new EMC Clariion AX100 can be configured for up to 3 Tbytes of Serial ATA storage capacity in a 2U rack enclosure with one or two processors, sources said. It comes with a 1-Gbyte cache and can connect to up to eight high-availability hosts.

Sources said the AX100, which will be list-priced starting at $5,999, works with EMC's VisualSRM software along with data protection software from Legato, which the vendor acquired last year.

VARs said the array is a groundbreaking product that amounts to networked storage for the price of direct-attached storage.

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An industry source said the AX100 is based on pure EMC innovation and has multiple patents pending. The array includes integrated network storage functionality, including a wizard-driven GUI for easy use and local snapshot support for data recovery, all with no need to pay for a software license, the source said.

It is tailored to the small and midsize enterprise market and can be used in SAN, NAS and direct-attached storage environments running under Windows, Linux or NetWare, sources said. It targets Microsoft Exchange and SQL applications as well as file/print and Web services. And for the enterprise, 14 AX100s can be put in a rack.

The AX100 is targeted exclusively at the channel. EMC's direct-sales force will not have access to the product.

EMC partner Dell, however, will also manufacture and sell the AX100, much like it does the Clariion CX300 array.

The array will be available via Arrow Electronics, Avnet, Tech Data, Bell Microproducts and CDW in North America and Sky Data in Canada. European distributors include FSC (Fujitsu Siemens Computer), which will sell it as the FibreCAT AX100. Ideal Hardware will sell the array in the U.K. and in Scandinavia, while Bull and OpenWay will sell it in France. Samsung will sell the array in Korea as the StorageMax ZCX 100.

The array can be configured at the reseller's or customer's site by the solution provider or customer and is available for immediate shipment, sources said. An iSCSI version is not too far in the future, they added.

The AX100 is the latest low-cost storage device to come from EMC, a company once mainly known for its aggressive direct sales of some of the most expensive storage arrays available. Last Thursday, EMC introduced its first channel-only product, the NetWin 110, a NAS appliance based on the latest version of Microsoft's Windows Storage Server 2003.