EMC Does the Limbo - EnterpriseStorageForum.com

EMC Does the Limbo

EMC has released its lowest-cost hardware yet, taking aim at other recent competitors such as IBM's FAStT600.

EMC announced a number of enhancements to the CLARiiON CX200 networked storage system, including a new single-controller option with estimated end-user pricing starting at $10,000, integrated ATA drive technology, and a 60% performance boost. EMC also simplified CLARiiON system management with the addition of customer-executable, non-disruptive upgrades for CLARiiON software applications.

The single-controller CX200 undercuts the dual-controller FAStT600 by about $5,000. The dual-controller model CX200 costs $25,000, and the Dell/EMC version costs $19,500.

"This is a real competitor, given the price point," says Mike Karp, senior analyst at Enterprise Management Associates. "The ability to mix Fibre Channel and ATA drives in the same box gives EMC an ability to provide a wide variety of price points within a single box. It's the entry point of a pay-as-you-grow architecture that provides a good step between low-end and mid-range storage that should be easy for purchasers to digest."

"EMC continues to deliver products that enhance their partners' capabilities to address the requirements of small to mid-size businesses," states Randy Kerns, senior partner, Evaluator Group. "The ability to support high-performance drives for OLTP applications and ATA disk technology for backup-to-disk in one system is very appealing to end-users. Additionally, with the CLARiiON CX200, partners are equipped with a leading price/performance solution."

The new entry-level CX200 offers organizations and departments "the most cost-effective and easy-to-use system, while also providing a clear upgrade path for future growth," according to EMC. The CX200 provides a full range of data integrity features, including parity checking and disk scrubbing, leading price/performance, and intuitive management software, the company claims.

A Clear Upgrade Path for the CX Series

The single-controller option can easily be upgraded to the CX200 dual-controller model without movement or migration of data. The $10,000 estimated end-user price is available from EMC and its partners, and includes 108 gigabytes of storage.

Customers can now purchase a single-controller CX200 and upgrade with data in place to CLARiiON's flagship CX600 system, EMC says. The upgrade path extends through dual-controller CX200 and CX400 networked storage systems. The company also notes that CLARiiON's advanced modular architecture, common reusable components, and common software protect customer investments as requirements change.

CX200 system performance has increased 60% to 40,000 I/Os per second. Joining the CX400 and CX600, CX200 systems are now expandable to 6 terabytes using ATA drive technology. New and existing CX200 customers can intermix Fibre Channel and ATA drives in the same CX200 system to maximize usage of the storage infrastructure.

Customers can use high-performance Fibre Channel drives for online transactional, file/print, messaging, or web applications, while ATA drives can be used for backup-to-disk operations -- all in the same array. This combined infrastructure of primary and secondary storage reduces management costs and improves service levels. According to EMC, CLARiiON CX is the only series of products in the industry with the ability to mix Fibre Channel and ATA drives in the same system.

Customers can now perform non-disruptive upgrades to CLARiiON's FLARE operating system and applications such as Navisphere and Access Logix. The web-enabled Navisphere management interface offers guidance and progress indicators to ensure a successful upgrade.

The CLARiiON CX200 and associated storage management software will be sold primarily through EMC's global network of partners, including Dell, Fujitsu-Siemens Computers, Unisys, Comparex, Stratus Technologies, Arrow Electronics, Avnet Hall-Mark, MTI, CDW, Bell Micro/Ideal, Dimension Data, and Digital China.

EMC says Gartner has placed the CLARiiON CX product line in the leader quadrant of Gartner's "Magic Quadrant for Midrange Enterprise Disk Arrays," and notes the CX series was also selected by customers as the "Best Disk Subsystem" at Storage World Conference 2003.

"With these new enhancements to the CX200, EMC is offering a very attractive entry point into the industry's leading mid-tier product series," states Joel Schwartz, senior vice president and general manager for EMC's CLARiiON Systems Division.

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