EMC Rolls Out Symmetrix 6.0

High-end storage features new any-to-any data paths between its front-end, cache, and back-end connections.

NEW YORK CITY—EMC Corp. announced the long-awaited Symmetrix 6.0 high-end storage Monday, called DMX, featuring new any-to-any data paths between its front-end, cache, and back-end connections.

Direct Matrix, an upgrade from the current Symmetrix 5.5, holds up to 2,048 Fibre Channel drives, officials of the Hopkinton, Mass., company said.

As expected, DMX is cheaper overall than 5.5, CEO Joe Tucci said. At 4 to 8 cents per megabyte, "We have put our products at market," he said, acknowledging EMCs past reputation for being high-priced. Also, "Every product that we talk about will be CIM/Bluefin-compliant" by the end of 2003, he said, referring to the evolving storage management standards.

Of the five DMX models, the entry-level version DMX800, is a modular, rack-mounted design and can be converted from the Hopkinton, Mass., companys top midrange model, the Clariion CX600. The DMX1000/2000 models, and the top-of-the-line DMX1000/2000 P Series, use traditional monolithic chassis. However, also as expected, support for mainframes using the FiCon (Fibre Connect) protocol wont debut until this summer, officials said.

That delay is because FiCon did not evolve until well into DMXs original design phase, said David Donatelli, executive vice president, hardware operations. But a new technology that did make the DMX cut is the use of three chips for voting each time data is written, instead of the prior two chips, he added. Overall, DMX models have all-new hardware and about 20 percent new software, he said.

EMC is not yet discontinuing the 5.5 models. A new model called z8000 will have upgraded software and more connectivity ports, while others will get new storage-over-IP options, Donatelli said. Those announcements will come in two weeks, he said.

"It hasnt failed and we havent been able to hit the top end of throughput yet," said Marshall Gibbs, CIO of Information Resources Inc., and a DMX beta tester since early December 2002. "Its starting to throw the onus back on the computational complexes of the software, to be able to do enough... to tax the box," he said.

Information Resources, of Chicago, shares data between retail stores, health care offices, and suppliers. The company runs 125TB of the current Symmetrix, backed up to Louisville, Colo.s Storage Technology (StorageTek) Corp. tape libraries, he said.

Information Resources is upgrading most of its Symmetrix devices to the DMX version, which will save about 50 percent in physical footprints, Gibbs said. Still, "If tomorrow there was a different answer that came up better for us, wed be all over it. Business doesnt afford loyalty."