EMC Trots Out Static Storage Device

IDE Drives For Unchanging Content

Most high-end storage devices are designed for transactional data, small chunks of frequently-changing data attached to databases, but some data-intensive applications require storing large image and video files that don’t change once they are written. In response, EMC Corp. has introduced a lower-cost device to meet the specific needs of these applications.

Dubbed Centera, the device is a very large array of inexpensive IDE disk drives, like one would find in a consumer PC. Centera connects to the enterprise infrastructure via Ethernet and uses software to ensure a file isn’t written twice, wasting drive space.

Some businesses need to keep large, unchanging multimedia files on hand for regulatory or reference purposes. Banks, for example, need to keep images of cancelled checks on hand for customers and regulators, while hospitals often have scanned X-rays stored away. Keeping this data on a drive array designed for transactional databases is often a waste of computing power.

EMC is not the first vendor to introduce an enterprise storage array based on cheap IDE drives. Network Appliance Inc. and Quantum Corp. both sell IDE arrays, but they are designed for temporarily storing backup data before moving it to tape. EMC intends Centera to be used as long-term storage.

About the Author

Chris McConnell is Product and Technology Editor for Enterprise Systems.