EMC Pushes IP Storage with New Celerra Systems, EMC Smarts Software

EMC officials claim the software is the first management product to provide root cause analysis to NAS.

In a move designed to add more teeth to its IP storage system portfolio, EMC on March 6 debuted two new versions of its mid-tier Celerra product line.

At the same time, via its Smarts business unit, the storage company launched what EMC officials claim is the first management product to provide root cause analysis to NAS (network-attached storage).

Going one step further, EMC extended the Smarts IP Availability Manager to NAS devices, beginning with EMC Celerra systems and NetApp filers.

The offering represents the first extension of the patented Smarts codebook correlation and Common Information Model into the NAS environment.

"We felt the NAS space was a logical place to start extending the technology to storage," said Vimal Shah, senior software product marketing manager in Hopkinton, Mass.

"With it we are able to auto-discover NAS devices. Once discovered, we can diagnose root cause problems in the IP network and determine the impact on those devices.

"If any of those NAS devices are the root cause problem themselves from an IP network connectivity perspective, we can diagnose them as a root cause problem," he said.

The root cause analysis capability allows users to diagnose whether the EMC Celerra and Network Appliance filer is up or down.

It helps to speed problem resolution by cutting through the hundreds of SNMP alerts that are generated when an outage occurs.

For example, when a router goes down, it can spawn hundreds of alerts that require a time-consuming research to pinpoint the source of the failure.

That allows a NOC administrator to focus on what caused the router to fail and how to fix it.

Whether EMC will add support for other NAS devices has not yet been decided, according to Shah.

"We are investigating whether to extend it to other products. We think we have covered the majority of products," he said.

The software can diagnose whether the Data Mover is up or down.

Often what ends up happening—anytime a root cause problem occurs, such as a router going down—hundreds of alerts can be created within a data center.

This typically forces a NOC administrator to spend a great deal of time researching the alerts to figure out what the root cause problem may be.

Through EMC Smarts IP Availability Manager for NAS, that effort instead can be shifted toward focusing on what precisely cause a router to fail and how best to fix it.

The new extension is available now and is free for customers already using the EMC Smarts IP Availability Manager.

As storage customers await for the arrival of 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity later this year and lower infrastructure costs as a result, EMC officials expect a similar push toward IP storage due to the scalability promise it brings.

EMCs new Celerra NS350 and Celerra NS704 boxes can scale up to 10 and 48TB respectively and are built to take advantage of maturing NAS and iSCSI connectivity environments.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read more about EMCs Celerra systems.

The newest additions to EMCs Celerra family feature iSCSI replication and virtual provisioning tools.

The lower-end Celerra NS350 box supports both Fibre Channel and ATA drives and supports online upgrades from a single to dual Data Mover configuration.

Far from a trivial deployment, the larger-sized NS704 NAS system marries the capabilities Celerra NS704 gateway with an EMC CLARiiON CX700 storage array.

The storage hardware provides an estimated 70,000 NFS operations per second and features 4 IP storage heads—three active and the other head for failover.

Oracle Corp. on March 6 dipped its toe in Celerra waters as well by announcing a new plug-in for EMC Celerras that reduces the complexity of managing coexisting EMC NAS devices and Oracle technology environments.

Currently available, the Oracle plug-in integrates monitoring, service level management, configuration analysis and diagnostic capabilities for EMC Celerra systems directly into Oracle Grid Control from Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Oracle.

Administrators can then use Oracle Grid Control to gauge and analyze performance metrics through various architecture views, collect and automatically track configuration information, and access pre-built reports on performance statistics.

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