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EMC upgrades Symmetrix as part of storage overhaul

EMC upgrades Symmetrix as part of storage overhaul

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EMC has announced upgrades of all of its disk arrays and network-attached storage (NAS) devices, as well as some of its key storage management applications.

The rollout includes the second generation of EMC's high-end Symmetrix DMX arrays, which debuted last February. Raw storage capacity remains unchanged at 84TB, but EMC said it increased the speed of the processor built into the arrays to 1 GHz, doubled the amount of cache memory to 256GB and added 15,000 rpm Fibre Channel disk drives. That's double the throughput of the 1Gbit/sec. drives EMC previously used.

EMC is also introducing an NS700 NAS device with a file server head that can be removed and used as a gateway between servers and storage-area networks, in addition to a new CX300, CX500 and CX700 series of its Clariion midrange arrays. The next-generation CX systems are available either as new models or as upgrades to existing Clariion arrays.

The new hardware and software supports EMC's emerging information life-cycle management (ILM) strategy, which is designed to provide tools that can automatically migrate data to different types of storage devices and manage it from creation to deletion.

Ohio Savings Bank recently installed about 30TB of tiered storage capacity from EMC as part of an ILM architecture. CTO Jo Ann Boylan said the bank uses Symmetrix DMX for primary data storage, Clariion CX600 arrays for secondary storage, Celerra file servers for sharing files, and Centera Compliance Edition devices for archiving information.

Although the storage infrastructure isn't being automatically managed, Boylan said storing data on different media according to the importance and age of the information is expected to save the bank millions of dollars. "We'll get huge lift out of this in how we manage storage," she said.

Matt Speare, director of IT infrastructure and security, added that the bank now also has a single, enterprisewide view of its storage architecture.

EMC said one of the key ILM-related upgrades being announced this week is the addition of support for the Storage Management Interface Specification to its management software. SMI-S is a set of common models and protocols designed to let storage management applications control storage devices made by different hardware vendors. EMC is adding SMI-S compliance to Symmetrix models that date to 1997 and to Clariion arrays from 2000 on, said Chuck Hollis, its vice president of platform marketing.

Peter Gerr, an analyst at Enterprise Storage Group, said SMI-S support is important for EMC because some of its top storage rivals have already announced compliant products.

Gerr added that he's impressed by EMC's ability to choreograph a complete product relaunch while it absorbs three major software vendors it has either bought or agreed to acquire since July last year.

"Anyone who thought their binge of software acquisitions was going to distract them from their bread-and-butter business of selling world-class storage systems is wrong," he said. "This reinforces the fact that they're still a storage company."


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