EMC adds de-dupe, SSDs to NAS

By Kevin Komiega

-- EMC has overhauled its family of Celerra products to include four new systems that are based on the EMC Clariion CX4 architecture and support file system de-duplication, file-level retention and compliance capabilities, and solid-state disk (SSD) drives.

The new Celerra NS-120, NS-480, NS-960 and NS-G8 Gateway each provide integrated support for NAS, iSCSI and Fibre Channel connectivity with IP storage replication, automated volume management for storage tiering and thin provisioning.

The most significant piece of today's launch is the addition of Celerra Data Deduplication, which uses automated policies and is integrated into Celerra Manager. The software compresses all inactive files, and then removes duplicates on the Celerra, without imposing limits on supported file system sizes or use of functionality such as snapshots. 

Brad Bunce, director of product marketing for multiprotocol storage at EMC, says the combination of compression and primary file system de-duplication can reduce file system capacity requirements by as much as 50%.

The de-duplication and compression features now found in Celerra systems were culled from the integration of EMC's Avamar and RecoverPoint technologies.

"We've integrated components from our Avamar business unit for the de-duplication policy engine and integrated them with compression algorithms from Celerra RecoverPoint," says Bunce.

In addition to compression and de-duplication, Bunce also touts low-power SATA II drives and high-speed SSDs as technologies that help lower the total cost of owning Celerra systems.

The initial Celerra release will support 73GB flash drives. Users can pack up to 60 SSDs into a Celerra depending upon the subsystem's configuration.

The low power, low speed SATA II disk drives require 32% less energy per terabyte than traditional 1TB SATA drives, according to EMC.

Celerra systems are now capable of supporting flash drives as well as Fibre Channel, SAS and SATA disk drives.

"We're providing de-dupe with compression as part of the base Celerra products at no extra charge, and the ability to put multiple tiers of storage into the array with flash drives and SATA II drives all help drive out costs," says Bunce.

EMC is also giving the Celerra family file-level retention capabilities for WORM (write once, read many) functionality on file systems. The compliance option to this feature prevents locked files from being deleted in order to meet regulatory requirements, and is based on software used in EMC's enterprise-class Centera archiving and retention platform.

"Centera has always been our compliance solution, but we're beginning to blur the line at the lower end of the spectrum," Bunce says. "The compliance software built into Celerra is very simple compliance for small amounts of data in a NAS box. Centera is still our solution for enterprise compliance."

Rounding out the revamped Celerra line is tighter integration with VMware's data protection software. Celerra systems can failback to original virtual infrastructure once VMware Site Recovery Manager performs a failover via a VMware vCenter plug-in.

Another vCenter plug-in, VMware View Storage Integration, helps administrators provision thousands of virtual desktops using Celerra's snapshot features and VMware View Composer and, when used with Celerra Deduplication, VMware View Composer used with Celerra Deduplication can deliver up to 70% storage savings for boot images.

All of EMC's new Celerra systems will be available at the beginning of March. A minimally configured NS-120 with six 300GB Fibre Channel disk drives (1.8TB of raw capacity) has a starting price of $37,725.

Related articles:
Dell extends EMC deal; Celerra added to lineup
EMC launches entry-level Celerra for SMBs
EMC refreshes data protection, de-dupe software

This article was originally published on February 23, 2009