EMC introduces 'disk library'

By Heidi Biggar

Introduced earlier this month, EMC's CLARiiON Disk Library is a disk array that emulates a tape library. (Supported emulations currently include tape systems from ADIC, Quantum, and StorageTek.)

Aside from scalability and some of its performance and availability features, the CLARiiON Disk Library is not unlike other tape emulation systems from vendors such as Overland Storage and Quantum.

Like those products, the CLARiiON Disk Library plugs directly into a storage area network (SAN) and emulates a tape library. The disk library supports a variety of backup applications, including IBM Tivoli Storage Manager, Legato NetWorker, and Veritas NetBackup and Backup Exec. Support for CommVault Galaxy and CA ARCserve and Enterprise Backup is due this summer.

The disk library leverages CLARiiON CX300 and CX700 controllers and integrates 320GB ATA disk drives for up 12.5TB to 58TB of native capacity (or 3x more with 3:1 compression). It is designed for enterprise customers that may be using other disk-based recovery techniques like snapshots, clones, and replicas to protect data.

Explains Tony Asaro, a senior analyst at the Enterprise Storage Group consulting firm: "EMC found that a large number of its customers were using ATA-based CLARiiON disk arrays to perform backup to disks. While this is a good solution for small amounts of data, as your backup data sets grow you need something more scalable and easier to manage."

According to EMC, the CLARiiON Disk Library can be implemented in less than two hours. "This isn't an IT project; it's an appliance," says Chuck Hollis, vice president of platform marketing at EMC.

Users can expect to see overall backup speeds improve by 30% to 60%, and restore times by up to 90%, compared to tape, according to EMC claims. The appliance has a data throughput of up to 80MBps per stream, or up to 425MBps aggregate throughput.

The disk library can be used to back up EMC Symmetrix, CLARiiON , and network-attached storage (NAS) systems as well as non-EMC primary storage. A policy engine automatically moves aged data from the disk library to tape for off-site storage; no additional server is required for this process.

This article was originally published on April 20, 2004