EMC storage gear getting major upgrades

EMC Symmetrix, Clariion, Celerra and Centera improvements expected to be announced Monday.

EMC on Monday is expected to announce enhancements to its major storage systems that will include higher capacities, greater energy efficiency, and additional security and availability features.

During a Webcast on Monday, the company is expected to introduce a high-end Symmetrix DMX-4 storage system, and enhancements to its mid-range Clariion array, its Celerra network-attached storage (NAS) box and its content-addressable Centera storage system.

EMC declined to comment about the announcements.

Also on tap is end-to-end 4Gbps. Fibre Channel connectivity to EMC's DMX-4 and a version of the array that allows customers to intermix Fibre Channel and Serial ATA drives. The DMX-4 will also feature the use of increased capacity 750GB drives in a more energy-efficient storage platform. Performance in the replication of data between arrays will also be increased, sources say. As expected and promised, EMC will also more tightly integrate security features from RSA into the DMX-4.

The EMC Clariion line of mid-range storage arrays will also see performance improvements. Clariions will now support thin provisioning, in which a single pool of storage can be virtually allocated to applications and storage capacity can be over-subscribed to improve utilization. In addition, the Clariion drives will now support RAID 6, which is sometimes called double parity. In RAID 6, if two disk drives fail within a single RAID group, data can be rebuilt. RAID 6 support for EMC’s Symmetrix was announced earlier this year. Like the DMX-4, the Clariions will be more tightly integrated with security capabilities from RSA.

As for the Celerra NAS array, the capability to add in block-level storage-area networking support will be added without the need for a separate NAS gateway. The Celerra, too, will now support thin provisioning and according to sources, will be able to be set up in less than 15 minutes. A new single controller node Celerra will be introduced – this array, the NS20 will be able to be upgraded to the present dual controller NS40, which supports as much as 32TB of capacity, as customer needs require.

Finally, the EMC Centera will also include the use of 750GB drives and be backward-compatible to previous Centera versions. Once again, EMC will jump on the green bandwagon, with several energy-efficient features for the Centera. Like the DMX-4 and new Clariions, the refreshed Centera will include security features from RSA and according to sources, enhancements to the MD5 hashing algorithm, which has been the cause of much consternation about the privacy of Centera stored data.

Sources indicate that EMC may also enhance its Invista virtualization platform to include increased scalability and performance, as well as data movement between additional storage arrays from other vendors.

“EMC is overdue for enhancements to some of its platforms including Invista, Celera NAS, Centera and the Symmetrix DMX, particularly support for 750GB Fibre Channel disk drives and full 4GB Fibre Channel support,” says Greg Schulz, senior analyst for StorageIO.

“It would only make sense for EMC to refresh or update those platforms that were not updated or enhanced earlier this year so as to give their sales force and partners plenty of time during the second half of this year to drive revenue and expand their presence,” said Schulz.

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