EMC Launches a New Storage Generation

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-04-14 Print this article Print

UPDATED: The storage and data security company introduces a new line of high-end Symmetrix storage arrays based on a new building-block-type design called Virtual Matrix. V-Max, as it is called, has a starter system that scales up to 2PB; according to their needs, users can add on capacities that can zoom up into hundreds of petabytes.

By all accounts from eWEEK industry sources, EMC-which has been making storage systems since the 1980s-has needed a major overhaul of its high-end systems for at least five years. The company now has gone a long way toward making that upgrade.

EMC on April 14 introduced a new high-end line of Symmetrix storage products based on a building-block-type design called Virtual Matrix that can scale from a relatively small 2PB starter system to one that zooms up into hundreds of petabytes of capacity.

That's right, hundreds of petabytes. And with that, V-Matrix (V-Max, for short) supports hundreds of thousands of virtual machines. EMC wouldn't be more specific; of course, all this massive storage scalability is merely theoretical.

Not even large-scale systems at film studios, scientific labs, oil and gas exploration data centers, and Tier 1 financial services companies are currently using that much storage capacity. Three to five years from now, however, things are expected to be very different.

The V-Max software is designed for the future-specifically, but not exclusively, for large enterprise data centers and server virtualization deployments, ones where storage workloads must adapt to fast-changing cycles.

The new architecture also allows workloads to be moved between various physical storage platforms as needed, with little or no latency that would affect getting the job done.

Intel's Xeon 5500s the Key Element

Like many new data center systems coming out this spring, the V-Max line runs on Intel Xeon quad-core processors, which are both faster and take less power from the wall than previous processors.

The V-Max storage systems also feature something called Fully Automated Storage Tiering, or FAST-the ability to automatically tier data based on real-time user access requirements. FAST also takes into account data life cycle, regulatory compliance and disaster recovery needs.

FAST is not a revolutionary feature; a number of younger storage companies already offer features comparable to this. But it is a big step for EMC.

Thus, V-Max represents a completely new generation of EMC storage systems.

"This is the big one for us. I've been here 15 years, and it's definitely the biggest launch I've ever worked on," Barbara Robidoux, EMC's vice president of product marketing, told eWEEK.

For the next few years, Symmetrix V-Max will be sold alongside the company's front-line Direct Matrix Architecture (DMX-4) Symmetrix. There are no phase-outs planned for the DMX-4 in the near future, Robidoux said.

"This is not a replacement of the DMX-4 with a DMX-5. This is a brand-new architecture, and the most exciting thing about this is that it's available immediately," Robidoux said. "It's really the biggest innovation that's hit the storage industry in some number of years. It's purpose-built for the virtualization data center."

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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