EMC overhauls storage systems

By Kevin Komiega

—EMC doubled the performance and storage capacities of several of its hardware platforms this week with the rollout of new models of the Symmetrix DMX-3, Clariion CX3 UltraScale series, Celerra NS NAS platform, and its enterprise disk library. The company also announced the extension of its UltraScale architecture to include support for its NAS and disk library products, as well as a new round of software enhancements aimed at easing storage management.

Leading off, EMC introduced what it has dubbed a new entry point into its high-end storage lineup with the debut of the Symmetrix DMX-3 model 950. The disk array uses EMC's Direct Matrix Architecture to scale both performance and capacity from 32 to 360 disk drives, or up to 180TB. In addition, the Symmetrix DMX-3 model 950 has component-level redundancy and the ability to replace all critical system components without affecting data availability or performance.

The Symmetrix DMX-3 model 950 supports Fibre Channel, Gigabit Ethernet, and iSCSI connectivity.

Peter Lavache, senior manager of storage platforms product marketing for EMC, says the model 950 is not a "lite" version of the DMX-3 technology. "We call it our entry point, but it scales to twice the capacity and three times the performance of the model 800, which it replaces," he says.

EMC also introduced additions to the midrange Clariion CX3 UltraScale family, with connectivity options for both Fibre Channel and iSCSI. According to EMC, the new FC/iSCSI systems are aimed at users who have already invested in Fibre Channel and are looking to consolidate IP-connected servers, or for those who want to consolidate data via iSCSI but want to have the option to deploy Fibre Channel to support high-performance applications.

The new Clariion versions—the CX3-20 and CX3-40 FC/iSCSI systems—are based on the UltraScale architecture, which includes end-to-end support for 4Gbps Fibre Channel. Both arrays can support high-performance as well as low-cost, high-capacity disk drives in the same system. They also support all Clariion software functionality, including remote and local replication. The Clariion CX3-20 FC/iSCSI system can scale from 365GB to 59TB and supports up to 128 host connections. The CX3-40 FC/iSCSI system can scale to up to 119TB and also supports up to 128 hosts.

There is also some new software coming down the pike for the CX-3 family. EMC announced the Navisphere Quality of Service Manager (NQM) for Clariion software, which enables users to monitor application performance objectives based on service levels. In addition, EMC is offering the Navisphere Task Bar, a free upgrade for all Clariion users that provides a wizard-based management tool to reduce the number of steps associated with common management tasks.

The third piece of EMC's platform overhaul is the next generation of the Celerra NS series of IP storage systems. The new Celerra NAS systems—the NS40, NS40G, NS80, and NS80G—now use the same architecture as their Clariion counterparts. The NAS systems and gateways are now based on the 4Gbps Clariion CX3 UltraScale architecture, an enhancement that EMC says is key to making its systems easier to use.

"We integrated the UltraScale architecture into our Celerra NAS platform as well as our next-generation disk library," says Lavache.

The EMC Celerra NS40 and NS40G systems provide 16TB to 32TB of usable capacity via single- or dual- blade configurations. The systems are optimized for users looking to consolidate multiple file servers or Exchange, SQL, or Oracle applications running on direct-attached storage. EMC claims the NS40 models provide up to 39% more performance than the earlier Celerra NS500 systems and combine NAS and iSCSI capabilities in either integrated or gateway configurations.

The Celerra NS80 and NS80G systems are built for environments requiring advanced clustering availability and provide 20TB to 60TB of usable capacity via two, three, or four blade configurations. The NS80 systems are also optimized for customers looking to consolidate numerous file servers and Exchange, SQL, or Oracle applications. EMC states that the NS80 line provides a 27% performance boost over its predecessor, the Celerra NS700 system, and also combines NAS and iSCSI capabilities in either an integrated or gateway system.

Batting cleanup in EMC's new hardware roster is the third generation of the EMC Disk Library, which, as mentioned earlier, uses the UltraScale architecture to double the performance of previous EMC Disk Library models. The new EMC DL4100, DL4200, and DL4400 virtual tape systems can scale up to 340TB of capacity and can deliver sustained performance of up to 2,200Mbps.

New software provides users with multi-system management for up to eight EMC Disk Libraries, support for twice the number of emulated virtual tapes and virtual tape libraries, new replication policies, and new watermarks for setting replication policies.

EMC has also added to the management of its disk libraries by integrating a NetBackup Media Server that enables NetBackup users to manage both virtual and physical tape pools.

While most of the new EMC systems and upgrades are available now, some of the revamped products will be rolling out in a few weeks.

The Symmetrix DMX-3 950, Celerra NS40 systems, and the new NSX system are available now. The Clariion CX3 UltraScale FC/iSCSI systems are also available now, but the new software will not available until December. The Celerra NS80 systems and the new EMC Disk Library will be available in November.

This article was originally published on October 25, 2006