EMC stresses commonality among platforms

By Heidi Biggar

Earlier this week, EMC announced its sixth-generation Clariion product--the CX600. For those awaiting a next-generation Symmetrix array, the CX600 was somewhat of a letdown, but for mid-tier markets it was welcome news because the new array fills a long-standing gap in the company's Clariion lineup.

"We haven't had a play in the upper end of the midrange market," admits Mike Wytenus, EMC's director of information platforms, markets and products. The CX600 does not replace the Clariion FC4700 array, but rather extends the company's reach in mid-tier markets.

Beyond price and performance improvements, the CX600 offers hardware and software continuity across Clariion generations and other EMC platforms. "Users want commonality or consistency so they can leverage the same people skills and minimize costs," says Wytenus.

EMC says it is leveraging common components across its Clariion and Symmetrix product lines and that it has already implemented common host bus adapters (HBAs) and merged the two platforms' interoperability labs.

According to Wytenus, EMC will push CX600 technology--including drives, power supplies, and HBAs--downward into lower-end Clariion products and upward into the Symmetrix family as new models are released.

This continuity among Clariion and Symmetrix products is key, says Joyce Becknell, research director at The Sageza Group, an IT consulting firm in Mountain View, CA. "The CX600 is competitive with HP's EVA, [but in this respect] is superior."

In addition to hardware continuity, EMC improved the overall capability of the Clariion line by broadening its support of previously Symmetrix-specific software to include PowerPath and MirrorView IP. DB Tuner and EDM, which were available with the FC4700, continue to be options with the CX600, as is Clariion-specific software such as Navisphere, Access Logix, SnapView, and MirrorView.

The CX600 works in both direct-attached storage (DAS) and storage area network (SAN) environments. It has eight SAN-addressable ports, supports nine operating systems, and has 1,024 addressable logical unit numbers (LUNs). According to EMC, the array has a maximum bandwidth of 1,300MBps and maximum throughput of 150,000 I/Os per second, making it suitable for both large block transfer applications (e.g., data warehousing, data mirroring, and streaming media) and smaller block IO requests (e.g., OLTP).

The array can be configured with additional cabinets to support up to 240 36GB (10,000rpm or 15,000rpm) or 73GB (10,000rpm) drives. A 180GB unit and a 17.5TB array (maximum capacity) are priced from $115,000 and $800,000, respectively.

For distribution, EMC has partnered with Arrow, Avnet, Dell, Fujitsu Siemens, Fujitsu Technology Solutions, and Unisys. The deal with Dell is part of a five-year distribution agreement signed by the two companies last year. Dell and EMC are reportedly discussing the possibility of extending that relationship to include the manufacture of various low-end Clariion products. The agreement with Fujitsu Technology currently includes both Symmetrix and Clariion arrays, software, and services.

This article was originally published on August 14, 2002