EMC Refreshes Chunk Of Storage Hardware Line

The biggest change for the channel is the addition of iSCSI capabilities to the Clariion line, making EMC one of the few major vendors to offer an array with simultaneous Fibre Channel and iSCSI connectivity, said Barry Ader, senior director of platforms at the Hopkinton, Mass.-based storage giant.

By bringing iSCSI and Fibre Channel into the 4-Gbps, Fibre Channel-based Clariion CX3 family, which EMC introduced in May, customers can dynamically meet different performance requirements and work with multiple tiers of storage in one chassis, Ader said.

The enhanced Clariion CX3-20 allows the connection of up to 128 high-availability hosts and includes four Fibre Channel and eight iSCSI ports. It can be configured for up to 59 Tbytes. The Clariion CX3-40 is similar but allows up to 119 Tbytes of capacity. Both differ from the original versions introduced in May in that they have an iSCSI option.

The iSCSI option is available immediately with new CX3 arrays, and it's expected to be available as an add-on to previously installed CX3s within 90 days, Ader said. For instance, part of the storage capacity can be used for high-speed Fibre Channel connectivity during the day when users are accessing their Microsoft Exchange databases, and then it can be switched to iSCSI to help take the load during a nightly backup, when fewer users are using Exchange, he said.

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"The ability to have iSCSI and Fibre Channel in a dual system will help continue to drive the move to IP-based storage," Ader said.

Dual connectivity is a key feature, according to Bryan Champagne, technical account executive at BL Trading, a Hanover, Mass.-based solution provider. "A lot of customers are looking at the combined solution," he said. "When customers implement a SAN, they don't want to put a Fibre Channel card in every server. They could do an iSCSI-only SAN. But when they need high performance, like with Exchange, they want to have Fibre Channel as well."

By putting tiered storage within a single Clariion array, customers also get improved total cost of ownership, especially as they migrate their direct-attached storage capacity to iSCSI and gain the benefit of having both iSCSI SAN and Fibre Channel SAN data managed on one device, Champagne said. "It also reduces power and maintenance requirements," he added.

Also introduced by EMC is a version of the EMC Disk Library, a virtual tape library, in which data is backed to virtual tapes on a hard drive array instead of to physical tape cartridges. The new DL4000 series of virtual tape libraries, scheduled to replace EMC's DL700 series, is based on the Clariion CX3 arrays. It features 4-Gbps Fibre Channel and can be configured for up to 64,000 virtual tape cartridges, double the capacity of the DL700 series, Ader said.Also new for the DL4000 is integrated native support for the NetBackup data management software from archrival Symantec, in addition to its previous support of EMC's NetWorker software, Ader said.

Native support for both NetBackup and NetWorker will improve the ease with which customers can restore old data as needed, Champagne said. "It's good that EMC recognizes that there are products outside their own scope," he said. "The world is not just EMC or NetWorker."

EMC also is leveraging its CX3 architecture in a new series of Celerra NAS arrays and gateways. NAS gateways are storage appliances that serve data in a file format in the same fashion as NAS appliances. But unlike NAS appliances, NAS gateways lack their own storage and must store the data on other storage devices connected to a SAN that would otherwise serve the data in blocks instead of as files.

The NS40 NAS array and NS40G NAS gateway, with the new CX3 architecture, offer performance increases of up to 39 percent over EMC's previous NS500 family, which they are scheduled to replace. The new NS80 array and NS80G gateway offer up to 27 percent higher performance than the NS704, which also is scheduled to be replaced.

EMC, too, is unveiling an entry-level version of its Symmetrix DMX-3 family of enterprise-class arrays. The DMX-3 950 can be configured for 32 to 360 hard drives in one or two bays, and it includes Fibre Channel, iSCSI and Gbit Ethernet connectivity.

All of the new EMC hardware is available now, and some new software capabilities are expected to ship in November and December.

A dual-protocol CX3-20 with five 73-Gbyte Fibre Channel drives has a suggested price of about $33,000. The list price for the new disk libraries starts at $180,000 with 11 Tbytes of usable capacity.

The new Celerra NAS appliances start at $50,000 for a single server blade and 1 Tbyte of usable capacity. The entry-level DMX-3 950 starts at $250,000.