EMC upgrades disk arrays

By Kevin Komiega

EMC has doubled the performance and storage capacities of several of its hardware platforms 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 extended its UltraScale architecture to include support for its NAS and disk library products and shipped 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-3 950 has component-level redundancy and the ability to replace components without affecting data availability or performance.

The Symmetrix DMX-3 950 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 introduced 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-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 users looking to consolidate numerous file servers and Exchange, SQL, or Oracle applications. EMC claims that the NS80 provides a 27% performance boost over its predecessor, the Celerra NS700, 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 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, according to EMC.

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 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.

EMC enhances software

At last month’s Storage Networking World show, EMC announced a variety of new software products and upgrades, with enhancements in the areas of application protection, disk-based recovery, and data management.

The company introduced EMC Backup Manager for SharePoint software and the NetWorker Module for MEDITECH, specifically aimed at healthcare customers. In addition, EMC rolled out new versions of RecoverPoint, Replication Manager, and the NetWorker PowerSnap Module for Celerra, all of which are designed to improve disk-based protection by providing tiered levels of protection and recovery.

Backup Manager for SharePoint supports backup and recovery for Microsoft’s SharePoint collaboration software. The latest Replication Manager release adds support for synchronized replication of multiple databases spanning hosts or arrays.

Leveraging the NDMP protocol, the NetWorker PowerSnap Module for Celerra provides users with an automated, centralized way to create snapshot backups to tape or disk.

With the new version of EMC RecoverPoint, however, the company has done more than just add support. The product is now based on a technology developed by an entirely different company than in prior versions of the product.

“We introduced RecoverPoint as our entry product into the continuous data protection [CDP] market and it was based on a technology agreement with Mendocino. Now we’re re-introducing RecoverPoint using the Kashya technology we acquired in May,” says Rob Emsley, senior director of software product marketing at EMC.

RecoverPoint is a data-protection and disaster-recovery solution that runs on out-of-band appliances located in the network or on hosts. RecoverPoint enables CDP and disaster recovery on EMC’s Invista network virtualization appliance.

Also new from EMC is the NetWorker Dashboard, which provides reporting and analysis tools for NetWorker environments. NetWorker Dashboard is a backup correlation and impact analysis tool based on technology from WysDM.

EMC Backup Manager for SharePoint 1.0 software is priced at $2,500. NetWorker Module for MEDITECH 1.0 is priced at $4,950, and Replication Manager 5.0 starts at $4,000 per managed host.

NetWorker Dashboard 1.0 is priced from $2,000, NetWorker PowerSnap Module for Celerra 2.3 is priced at $4,995, and RecoverPoint has a starting price of $83,000.

-Kevin Komiega

This article was originally published on December 01, 2006