EMC Hardware Blowout on Tap

EMC is planning a big overhaul of its storage hardware, including arrays, file servers, management tools.

Following a year in which it aggressively invested in storage management software, EMC Corp. is revitalizing its hardware focus with a massive overhaul of its storage platforms.

In a grand plan to bolster performance and compatibility across existing products, the Hopkinton, Mass., company this week will launch new and enhanced Symmetrix DMX-2 and Clariion CX disk arrays and new Celerra NS network file server models. At the same time, it will boost mainframe access of its Centera object storage device through a new API.

In addition, the storage company will announce software called SMI-S 1.0 Provider, which supports the SMI (SNIA Storage Management Initiative) standard and can manage EMC Symmetrix and Symmetrix DMX systems as well as Clariion and Clariion CX systems. With SMI-S, customers can use existing storage management applications and the new SMI management applications side by side, officials said.

EMC storage customers welcome the marriage of storage management control with previous storage hardware installations.

"I dont want a product to be abandoned, given the level of investment Ive made for it," said Dan Backer, enterprise systems manager for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in Washington. "Hardwares fantastic, but its really the software that controls it all. ... Ive been extremely pleased with EMC storage management."

EMCs new Clariion CX 300, 500 and 700 models will give customers the option to reuse compatible Clariion assets from the CX 200, 400 and 600 models to augment processing power. EMC is adding to the CX line the ability to perform incremental replication of third-party storage devices using its SAN Copy feature. Furthermore, the CX line includes new features to simplify replication of Microsoft Corp. Exchange and SQL Server data.

For its DMX line, EMC is doubling the CPU speed and capacity, as well as adding faster disks and a new RAID 5 option in DMX-2. In addition, the upgrades provide Symmetrix Remote Data Facility/Asynchronous multibox support for the mainframe.

Hoping to answer critics questions about its commitment to NAS (network-attached storage), EMC will unveil the Celerra NS700 NAS Filer, which can be converted to a gateway environment. Also debuting is the new Celerra NS700G, which supports a pooled storage environment.

A new AutoSwap technology that EMC will unveil is the companys response to the dilemma of migrating workloads without disruption in the mainframe environment. AutoSwap moves applications and data without the expensive use of geographically dispersed parallel sysplex.

Dell Inc., which resells EMC hardware, will also get into the act this week, introducing its new Storage Advisor online tool for storage management. Accessible on Dells Web site, the tool lets customers respond to questions specific to their problem in order to receive several options of best practices, said Dell officials, in Round Rock, Texas.