EMC Targets Midtier NAS Market

Known forits high-end NAS and SAN offerings, EMC is turning its attention to themidlevel NAS market with the launch of Clariion IP 4700. The move representsEMC’s first official foray into the mid-market NAS space. There it willcomplete against the likes of Network Appliance, among others.

A NAS fileserver that attaches to an IP network, Clariion IP 4700 includeshigh-availability features, an average 10-minute installation time, the abilityto scale up to 3.6 TB in rack-mountable increments, and a range of networkconnections. It is designed to compete against the clustered approach of otherNAS vendors. The differentiating factor and main selling point of IP 4700 isthat it has no single point of failure. This feature exists in high-end NASofferings, but until now it did not exist in mid-tier NAS offerings.

“We’retaking the value proposition of the high-end NAS space and bringing it down tothe mid-market,” says Chuck Hollis, director of product marketing at EMC.

Becausedata storage is vital, most companies choose to cluster together two NASservers. This way, if the server or a component of the server fails, the otherone takes over.

EMC takes adifferent approach, equipping each server with two sets of components. If onecomponent fails, the other component takes over, eliminating the need forclustering. “You get two of everything,” says Hollis. “If you have a problem,the second one takes over. Instead of failing server to server, it’s failingpiece to piece.”

Thebenefit, of course, is that a customer only has to buy one NAS server, asopposed to two. “We’re saying buy one of ours instead of two of theirs,” Hollisexplains. “Customers get high availability in a redundant sense and don’t haveto pay more.”

EMC’s newoffering receives high marks from Arum Taneja, senior analyst at EnterpriseStorage Group. “From one box, you get the benefits of two boxes,” he says. “Asan example, Network Appliances is getting the same functionality out of twoboxes clustered together, what they call an 840C, as EMC is getting out of onebox. That is impressive.”

The abilityto perform the functions of two NAS servers brings up the question of pricing.“Net Apps will say they’re much cheaper, but at the high end, one of theirs isas much as one of ours,” Hollis says.

Tanejashared the sentiment when asked about the price performance of IP 4700. “EMChas never been known as inexpensive, but in this case they’re bringing a veryprice-competitive product to the market,” he says.

With theaddition of IP 4700, EMC can now offer its customers an EMC alternative tocompete against the mid-tier NAS offerings that Network Appliance has beensuccessfully selling lately. Taneja, for one, thinks EMC is well-positioned tobecome a major mid-market NAS player. “I think this [IP 4700] is a barnburner,”he says. “It’s going to give Net Apps a run for their money.”

For EMC,the move was made possible by its acquisition of Data General. The acquisitiongave EMC the tools and architecture necessary to enter the mid-tier space, acapability that did not exist before.

“Theacquisition put them in a space that they wouldn’t have been able to play in,”Taneja says. “However, I am very surprised that they were able to make thismove as quickly as they were.”

In additionto Clariion IP 4700, EMC made two other NAS announcements. A new softwareoffering called EMC SnapView/IP provides multiple, independent point-in-timecopies of the active IP 4700 file system to shorten backup and recoverywindows, generate point-in-time analysis and reporting, and speednon-disruptive application testing and deployment.

The otheroffering, EMC Celerra SE File Server, combines the advantages of the CelerraFile Server and the Symmetrix Enterprise Storage System to deliver anentry-level NAS configuration. It includes all the high-end attributes of theCelerra File Server program, can scale to 1.1 TB of internal capacity, and isavailable in two preconfigured models.

Index:

EMCCorp., Hopkinton, Mass.,www.emc.com

EnterpriseStorage Group, Milford,Mass., www.enterprisestoragegroup.com