EMC Aims High with New Symmetrix

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EMC on Monday refreshed its core storage platforms, led by the fourth generation of its high-end Symmetrix array and followed by upgrades to its Clariion, Celerra, Centera and Rainfinity platforms.

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

While EMC has offered 4 Gbps 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 Gbps 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 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 manage 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 as much as 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 customers.

Moreover, with EMC SRD/S, the new arrays replicate data synchronously a third 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 of supplies, DMX has toed 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.

Article courtesy of InternetNews.com

Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor and a senior writer for CIO.com covering IT leadership, the CIO role, and digital transformation.

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