EMC Arrays Find Symmetry


EMC  refreshed several core storage
platforms today, led by the fourth generation of its high-end Symmetrix
array.


Symmetrix DMX-4 has been built from the ground up with 4 gigabit-per-second
(Gb/s), running the newest 750 GB SATA II disk drives alongside its Fibre
Channel  disk drives, as well as an enhanced Enginuity storage operating system.

While EMC has offered 4 Gb/s support for Clariion midrange systems for
the front end of its previous DMX machines, DMX-4 is the first product where
the back end gets also gets 4 Gb/s play.


This means the drives on the array have an independent relationship with
each drive on the loop, improving its ability to be serviced, said Barbara
Robidoux, vice president of storage product marketing for EMC.

EMC Symmetrix

Symmetry in storage: DMX-4

Source: EMC


Running both the less expensive SATA  disk drives with
traditional, more costly Fibre Channel drives better helps EMC meet its
customers’ goals for information lifecycle management (ILM), in which tiered
storage is used to massage and care for data from its birth until it’s ready
to be destroyed.


EMC also claims that by putting the right data on the right type of disk
drive, customers can reduce the amount of power it takes to store a terabyte
of information by up to 91 percent. Storing data on high-capacity 750GB
drives requires less power than using Fibre Channel drives.


While former releases have touted capacity as the key new driver, EMC is
vowing to bust speed and performance barriers with the refreshed Enginuity
in DMX-4. The company claims the new systems shuttle data as much as 30
percent faster than RAID 5 and RAID 6 to make data more available for its
consumers.


Moreover, with EMC SRD/S, the new arrays replicate data synchronously 1/3
faster up to 100 kilometers and now synchronously mirror data at distances
up to 200 kilometers. Also, local replication can be done up to 10 times
faster for improved point-in-time backups and online restores with EMC
TimeFinder/Clone software.


Security is also a major burden for IT administrators to bear; months after
EMC acquired RSA Security and sprinkled its technologies into Symmetrix DMX-3, the DMX-4 systems now enable
storage logs to be integrated as a part of the audit log and compliance
reporting tools provided by the RSA enVision appliance.


“We automatically push those log files off of the Symm and get them on to
the enVision enterprise log management,” Robidoux said.


The integration enables customers to quickly react to log-captured events,
making it easier for companies to meet compliance requirements, such as HIPAA
and Sarbanes-Oxley.


As it did with DMX-3, EMC has also created an entry-level box for DMX-4; the
DMX-4 950 array supports iSCSI  and Fibre Channel
connectivity, as well as FICON  for mainframe
connectivity.


With the exception of a poor second quarter last year in which it ran short on supplies, DMX has towed the
line versus IBM’s DS8000 and Hitachi Data Systems’ TagmaStore platforms,
enabling EMC to pull away from those vendors in the high-end market.


According to IDC, EMC in 2006 led the market in systems costing more than
$300,000, which include DMX, DS8000 and TagmaStore, with a 39 percent share
of sales. IBM  and HDS  posted
sales shares of 24.4 percent and 15.2 percent, respectively.


But EMC can’t be content for long because customers are demanding features
that EMC has yet to produce. The company said it will fill one of those demands by
introducing thin provisioning capabilities for DMX in the first quarter of
2008.


Thin provisioning, offered by 3PAR, EqualLogic, HDS and others, lets admins
allocate virtual-disk storage based on their anticipated future needs
without dedicating physical disk storage at the point of sale. This utility
improves storage utilization and allocation.


Available next month, an entry-level configuration of Symmetrix DMX-4 will
cost $250,000. However, 750GB SATA II disk drive support for Symmetrix
DMX-4 is slated for later this year.

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