EMC Singles Out SMBs with Insignia

The Insignia portfolio contains lower-priced disk array, replication and backup products designed for small and midsized businesses.

EMC on Feb. 6 introduced Insignia, its new line of refurbished hardware and software products specifically tailored toward small and midsize businesses.

The Insignia portfolio features lower-priced and downsized disk array, replication, and backup and recovery offerings for SMBs to more easily manage and share storage within their increasingly complex storage environments.

Building on its successful SMB-focused partnership and development with Dell, EMCs Insignia includes that joint ventures crown jewel: EMC Clarion AX Series disk arrays.

Priced at $5,500 and tacked with a maximum capacity of 6TB, the AX Series storage array can consolidate and allocate RAID storage across multiple computers and servers for either Fiber Channel or iSCSI storage environments. The product is currently available.

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EMC tweaked its EMC VisualSRM (storage resource management) 1.7 SMB Edition tool from its enterprise-class predecessor by limiting its capacity to 2TB and focusing the product solely on Microsoft Windows environments, said Larry Zulch, vice-president and general manager, EMC Insignia, for Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC.

The automated storage management product costs $995. The product will be ready later this quarter.

EMC Storage Administrator for Exchange SMB Edition has been added to Insignia, with the aim of helping SMBs simplify storage administration, migrate data as part of upgrades and offer failover capabilities for their Microsoft Exchange Server deployments.

Supporting only EMC Clarion AX100 Series, the product costs $1,995 and is currently available.

For Insignias EMC Retrospect, EMC is using point-in-time restore and encryption technology pulled from its acquisition of Dantz Development Corp. in October 2004.

Version 7.5 of the disk-to-disk backup and recovery software is available and priced between $399 and $1449.

In many ways the beginnings of EMC Insignia began with the acquisition of Dantz. Insignia features a great deal of Dantz employees, executives and technical expertise. In fact, Zulch is the former CEO of the company.

"SMBs have very similar storage needs as larger companies. They have to deal with customer lists, transactions, inventory, etc., but they have to do it with lesser resources," said Zulch, who added that EMC defines SMBs as businesses with revenues of $25 million or less.

"Theres no question that there are products [available today] that would meet the requirements of SMBs, but theyve been too expensive and too complex. It cant just be cheaper and it cant just be simpler."

Rounding out Insignia, EMC Replistor 6.1 SMB Edition is currently available for $995 per node. The replication product supports up to two servers and Windows-only PCs for disaster recovery, failover and copy purposes.

In terms of collaboration, EMC eRoom SMB Edition will be available later this quarter for $995. The bite-sized product only supports up to 10 users.

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Charles King, principal analyst for Hayward, Calif.-based Pund-IT Inc., said Insignia is on the right footing to help EMC launch its SMB aspirations on its own into an area where many SMB specialists may have said the storage giant wasnt well prepared for in the past.

"If EMC wants to play seriously [among SMBs], they have to do what every other SMB-focused storage vendor does and work with many partners, and thats something thats very familiar to them with their enterprise offerings," said King.

Since the realities of competition for SMBs requires aggressive vendor pricing, King said EMC must find ways to endure an environment where profits are not as high to successfully respond to customer demands, while moving products at much lower prices.

King said Dell should be among EMCs partners to benefit the most from Insignia, and the formation of the new product line should have no impact on the newly extended relationship between the two companies.

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