EMC Launches Clariion, 19 TB Symmetrix Storage

The "New Economy" is forcing a shift in the way computers are used. With the explosion of unstructured data in the enterprise, there is the need for vast amounts of storage. While some vendors have addressed technical concerns, physical overhead remains a nagging issue for storage.

EMC Corp. (www.emc.com) rolled out two new hardware offerings: the Clariion 4500, a midrange storage server with multihost support across Windows NT, mainframe, and Unix platforms; and the Symmetrix 8000, which holds as much as 19.1 TB of data.

On the software side, the EMC servers are bolstered by a new storage operating environment known as Enginuity. It supports administration of the Clariion 4500 and Symmetrix 8000 from the same user interface.

"What we’ve done is to make it easy to access information," said Mike Ruettgers, president and CEO of EMC, at the company's huge product launch in New York. Organizations’ storage needs are soaring, and IT departments’ "time to solution" keeps plummeting, so EMC is supporting the needs for both storage capacity and speed, Ruettgers says.

Jim Rothnie, senior vice president and chief marketing technical officer at EMC, hailed the announcements as "the most important technology introduction in the history of EMC."

Months in the making, Clariion 4500 is the first iteration of Clariion to be released since EMC’s acquisition of Data General last year. EMC’s Symmetrix lineup introduced multihost NT/Unix/mainframe support. With the 4500, EMC is extending the same support to Clariion.

"Before, Clariion could only talk to one OS at a time," says Mark Vargo, vice president of product marketing at EMC. Also with the 4500, EMC instituted support in Clariion for Connectrix, the company’s SAN switching line-up.

The midrange storage server is geared to use at the departmental, workgroup, or branch-office level in large and medium-sized enterprises. "Users can now consolidate storage for all three platforms, at lower price points than before," Vargo maintains. Pricing for typical configurations starts at about $180,000.

The Symmetrix 8000, on the other hand, is the latest release of EMC’s flagship storage server for enterprise data centers. Although the Symmetrix 8000 more than doubles the 9 TB storage capacity of EMC’s Symmetrix 3000/5000, the 3000/5000 still holds second place industrywide, Vargo says.

EMC boosted performance to 1.4 GBps, and upped the amount of cache from 16 GB to 32 GB. The cache memory and I/O boards were both redesigned. The cache memory board now uses a 266 MHz PowerPC, instead of the previous Motorola 88 K processor, Vargo said.

The 8000 supports 7,200 RPM 50 GB disks, along with either 7,200 and 10,000 RPM for the 18 GB or 36 GB disks. Pricing for typical configurations begins at about $500,000.

Robert Gray, research director for storage systems at IDC (www.idc.com ) says, "For people whose storage needs are exploding, the ability to pack more storage into the same amount of cubic feet is becoming really critical."

Unlike the Clariion 4500, the Symmetrix 8000 can be used in conjunction with Celerra, EMC’s diskless, network-attached storage file server. EMC added Fibre Channel to the back of Celerra for network connectivity direct to the SAN or through either Symmetrix or Connectrix Fibre Channel switches.

The Connectrix switches, supported by both the Symmetrix and Clariion servers, now allow for a choice of either IP or direct connection. EMC’s new eight- and 16-port switches are the result of OEM agreements with Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (www.brocade.com) and Ancor Communications Inc. (www.ancor.com).

EMC’s ED-1032 Fibre Channel Director, produced in conjunction with McData Corp. (www.mcdata.com), now supports "e-ports," for interswitched links. "The switches can talk to each other -- and potentially to servers upstream from there -- rather than just directly to Symmetrix. You could potentially build a very sophisticated SAN network," Vargo says.

A new software application, EMC CopyCross for MVS, is designed for automatically migrating MVS tape-based data to Symmetrix. EMC also rolled out two applications for Clariion management: Access Logix and Navisphere Manager. Updates have been made to EMC’s ControlCenter, SRDF (Symmetrix Remote Data Facility), TimeFinder, and InfoMover software applications. SRDF now works with both Fibre Channel and IP connections.

Vargo says EMC shapes its storage products in response to requirements raised by customers and potential customers at customer council meetings, held four or five times each year. "The participants range from vice presidents for IT at major banks to people starting up dot-coms out of their apartments," he explains.

"EMC spends a great deal of time listening to customer and IT manager requirements," IDC’s Gray affirms. "Virtually quarter after quarter, more and more revenue is being spent on EMC storage products. EMC isn’t limited to, ‘Have I got great technology for you!’" the analyst adds.