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EMC Makes Massive Array Official

EMC formally launched its newest high-end storage array, a tiered storage box that can store one petabyte of data and help customers move files from smaller systems onto one machine.

The company dropped the code name Symm 7 for the moniker Symmetrix DMX-3, a logical follow-up to the DMX-2 unveiled in February 2004.

DMX-3 comprises a single system bay and separate storage bays. Each bay is powered independently and contains sufficient power and battery backup. Users can easily boost system capacity by another storage bay or more disk drives. Additional performance can be added by installing extra director boards.

EMC President and CEO Joe Tucci said on a conference call Monday that the machine is loaded with new technology, including a design that doubles the processing power of the chips and bandwidth to shuttle data at greater speeds. DMX-3 also has global memory directors based on Dual Data Rate (DDR) SDRAM technology to keep the data online.

Highlighting what Tucci said he expects to be an ongoing trend in the storage space, DMX-3 will support up to 960 disk drives when it launches in early September, expanding to 1,920 disk drives in the first half of 2006 and more than 2,000 by the end of 2006.

"Since [the DMX line] launched in February 2003, customer demand has clearly and consistently moved toward our larger DMX systems with bigger drive counts," Tucci said. The chief attributed the demand for the highest of EMC's high end to the systems' increases in performance, scalability and functionality.

While not all analysts agree that speeds and feeds boosts will help EMC sell more boxes in the high-end storage space, there are a few undeniable variables that can work in the company's favor.

Corporate data volumes seem to be growing anywhere between 50 percent and 60 percent each year, triggering the need for storage gear equipped to handle massive data loads.

Tucci said this is what is propelling customer demand for systems with more drives. DMX-3 is that trend. At the least, the new product should help EMC stay ahead of rivals IBM and Hitachi Data Systems on the high-end curve.

EMC is also switching up the way it delivers its new storage boxes. In the past, the company introduced a new machine along with a new operating system and enhanced software functionality. This essentially gave customers a few different things to worry about. For example, the hardware had to be tuned and tested before the software was installed on it.

Not anymore, Tucci said. DMX-3 will run on an operating system called Enginuity 5071 code. The OS will power EMC's three generations of DMX, providing a form of investment protection previously unheard of from EMC.

In 2006, all of the DMX systems will support Low Cost Fibre Channel (LC-FC) disk drive technology, comparable in cost to ATA technology. LC-FC will allow multiple tiers of storage to be run on a single DMX system. This is symbolic of the Hopkinton, Mass, company's information lifecycle management strategy for managing data from its creation to its demise.

Analysts who have studied the specs for DMX-3 concluded that the ability to rev from 7,500 to 10,000 or 15,000 RPM drives gives the tiered storage look and feel not found on comparable products from IBM or HDS.

The first DMX-3 will support FICON-attached IBM mainframes and iSCSI or Fibre Channel-based systems running AIX, HP/UX, Linux, Solaris and Windows.

Separately, EMC said it also took steps to improve data migration from older machines to new ones, unveiling its Open Migrator/LM software. This utility automated data migration between different Windows and Unix-based storage systems.

EMC/Softek Logical Data Migration Facility software, developed by EMC and Softek Storage Solution, enables online relocation of mainframe data at the dataset level.