EMC Sprinkles iSCSI Into Clariions

EMC is taking iSCSI support to its mid-range Clariion

storage devices to provide customers more choice and a lower cost

alternative to Fibre Channel products.

The new Clariion models AX100i, CX300i and CX500i are basically the same as

Fibre Channel boxes from the line, right down to the pricing, said Tom

Joyce, senior director of platforms marketing at EMC.

The key differentiator of the new machines is native iSCSI ,

or Internet Small Computer System Interface support, which allows data to be

transferred among devices.

Though generally believed to be inadequate to suit the needs of the largest

enterprises, iSCSI is praised for its ability to lower costs of networked

storage for small- and medium-sized businesses, or even departments in large


iSCSI offers a less expensive means of device connection compared to Fibre

Channel, which is an older protocol still preferred for larger installations of gear, because it connects to Ethernet ports that already exist on an IP network

and doesn’t require host bus adapters for the servers it connects to.

Joyce said customers may use iSCSI to attach servers to internal storage or

direct-attached storage (DAS) instead of using Fibre because of

the costs of the HBA and switch ports. Or, he said, SMBs may decide to set

up a new storage area network (SAN) and want to save money by

using iSCSI.

Less expensive storage connection is important for companies who need to add

devices while adhering to a constrained budget.

In EMC’s line of thinking, this largely applies to SMBs who incur revenues

between $10 million and $100 million per year, though it is not

inconceivable that billion-dollar businesses could use iSCSI in departments

or remote offices.

Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Tony Asaro said the new Clariions could

usher iSCSI SANs into the mainstream, noting that 42 percent of SMBs are

planning to implement iSCSI SANs by 2006.

Asaro believes schools, government and large organizations with remote

offices will be the sweet spot for iSCSI. Gartner and IDC also believe iSCSI

could grow at a compound annual growth rate of 150 percent to 250 percent

over the next few years.

iSCSI support is not new to EMC machines. The company had already offered

support for the standard on its Symmetrix DMX systems, Connectrix switches,

Celerra and NetWin systems. By adding iSCSI to its Clariion line, it is

rounding out support for the method. EMC rivals Network Appliance and IBM are also

staunch iSCSI supporters.

Priced at $6,200, the AX100i is available now, based on serial attached
(SATA) disks. The Dell/EMC AX100 co-branded machine also now features iSCSI support and is available today for $4,999.

The CX300i and CX500i allow customers to
mix Fibre with parallel and SATA disks. The CX300i, starting at $25,650, is

expected to be available in the second quarter while the CX500i costs $68,075 and is available now.

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