EMC Builds Midrange Muscle

EMC has upgraded its Clariion line with a new architecture that supports the
4-gigabit-per-second (Gb/s) Fibre Channel technology,
a move that promises greater storage performance.


The new Clariion UltraScale architecture and CX3 series of networked storage
systems also feature double the capacity of the CX2 series to help customers merge multiple types of files onto one machine.


Such consolidation has been the battle cry in a storage market where
customers are craving more space and clamoring for simplified machines to
sock away files and recall them as fast as possible.


EMC is counting on the UltraScale design and CX3 line to elevate sales of
Clariion systems, a consistent growth area for EMC over the last several
years, including a 13 percent hike in the first quarter 2006 from the year-ago quarter.


Jay Krone, director of Clariion marketing for EMC, said the 4Gb/s mark is a
throughput speed that every vendor in the market has been racing to offer,
but one that only EMC has achieved in midrange systems, thanks to native
multi-lane PCI Express technology.


Because the 4Gb/s heads off bottlenecks that can hinder application
performance, Krone said EMC is confident its new Clariion systems are, bit
for byte, more powerful than systems from rivals HP and IBM.


“Because we buy our competitors’ products and we benchmark them and pop the
top off and look inside and see what they’re built out of, we’re pretty
confident at this point that our major competitors have a controller
architecture that is a last-generation architecture that fundamentally
limits their ability to perform in a four gigabit-per-second world,” Krone
said.


UltraScale affords customers other benefits over existing Clariion and rival
systems, Krone said.


They include easier installation; the ability to copy data up to 30 percent
faster using EMC’s SnapView, MirrorView and SAN Copy replication software;
greater availability; redundant power and cooling; and improved fault
detection, isolation and error-correction.


The CX3 line includes three models.


The entry-level CX3-20 was created for mail/messaging, departmental
applications and databases, Web services, distributed applications, remote
replication and workgroup productivity. The machine starts at $27,000 and
can scale from 365 gigabytes to 59 terabytes.


For enterprises that require more juice and storage, the CX3-40 is ideal for
mail/messaging, heavy databases, transactional workloads, bandwidth
applications, video streaming and remote replication.


The CX3-40 supports 2-Gb/s LC/FC disk drives, 2-Gb/s Fibre Channel disk
drives and 4-Gb/s Fibre Channel disk drives in the same system, and scales
up to 119 terabytes. The machine begins at $52,000.


Lastly, the CX3-80 is what Krone described as the new “kingpin” of the
midrange. For $101,000 to start, the CX3-80 performs tasks normally reserved
for enterprise-class arrays, including tiered storage, backup-to-disk and
data warehousing.


Like the CX-40, the CX3-80 supports 2-Gb/s LC/FC disk drives, 2-Gb/s Fibre
Channel disk drives and 4-Gb/s Fibre Channel disk drives in the same system.
But the CX3-80 can store up to 239 terabytes.


The CX3-20, CX3-40, CX3-80 models are available now from EMC and partners
Dell, Fujitsu Siemens Computers and Unisys. ISCSI connectivity and Network
Equipment Building System requirements will be available later this year.


Thanks to its five-year reseller deal with EMC, Dell will begin selling
co-branded versions of the CX3-20 array for $27,000 later this month
worldwide.

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