EMC Bulks Up NAS Line

Enterprise storage leader EMC launches major upgrades to its network-attached storage line, in a tactical move designed to shake up rivals like BlueArc, Compaq and Network Appliance.

Enterprise storage leader EMC Corp. on Wednesday launched major upgrades to its network-attached storage line, in a tactical move designed to shake up rivals like BlueArc Corp., Compaq Computer Corp. and Network Appliance Inc.

The announcement for Celerra File Server, which is essentially a network-attached front-end to Symmetrix storage units, has nine parts.

The most significant news is Celerra Data Mover 510. DM 510 clusters up to 14 file servers with a dual-processor design, to scale to 52 terabytes, 200,000 operations per second and 224 network connections—all without raising the existing Celerras price, said Dave Donatelli, executive vice president for storage platform operations at EMC, in Hopkinton, Mass.

"NAS continues to mature. Customers are doing more mission criticalness with it all the time," Donatelli said.

The components are all available now, and "were in discussion phases" to bring much of it to Dell Computer Corp., which controls EMCs lower-end NAS products, he added.

Celerra also gets enhancements to its HighRoad file sharing, which now supports local sharing, fail-safe features, internationalization and virtual LANs.

Microsoft Corp.s Windows 2000 operating system is now supported as well, with the Light Access Directory Protocol, Kerberos authentication and Microsoft Management Console tools.

Also, backup and recovery are improved, supporting aftermarket vendors like Atempo Software Inc., CommVault Systems Inc., Legato Systems Inc. and Veritas Software Corp. The support is through the Network Data Management Protocol, or NDMP.

Rounding out the list of changes are Celerra support for TimeFinder/FS; EMCs synchronous and point-in-time copy tool from Symmetrix; the new Configuration Wizard; and Concurrent Copy Backup. There is also a new NAS Migration Service for automated online migration and scheduling. Also, EMCs opened a NAS Competency Center, in Southborough, Mass., for product demonstrations, customer and partner education, interoperability testing, and technology qualifying.

The new components will work with EMCs AutoIS storage management platform, Donatelli said. Pricing examples are $217,000 for a Celerra system with two Data Movers and 600GB of storage, including the Windows support and Configuration Wizard. HighRoad starts at $5,700 for Windows workgroups and $11,250 for Unix workgroups. NDMP costs $8,500, Concurrent Copy Backup is not priced yet, and TimeFinder starts at $45,000, officials said.

At Gene Logic Inc., in Gaithersburg, Md., the new products are very welcome, but much more can be done, said Joe Parlanti, manager of computing infrastructure and support. A Celerra user for about 18 months, he said, "we need to have access to the drive system from anywhere in the company on any platform, and it needs to be reliable."

Gene Logic runs about 18 terabytes of data on Celerra, connected to Oracle Corp. 8i databases. "We had tried out some Network Appliance stuff that we liked, but EMC scaled better," he said. But EMC has its problems too. "Theyre so big, one hands not knowing what the others doing sometimes. ... This came up just last week, where I needed a whole bunch of disk space rapidly. Theres a lot of inertia to get past before you can actually get it hooked in."

Combined with high prices and confusing billing practices, working with EMC can be vexing, Parlanti said. But the sophistication of EMCs technology makes it worthwhile, he said.