EMC Expands Reach of Symmetrix DMX

The incredible expanding Symmetrix DMX

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Not to be outdone by the software side of the house, which last month acquired Legato Systems for $1.3 billion, EMC's hardware team has pushed out a major revision to its Symmetrix DMX product line. "This is no bug fix release," says Barry Burke, director of Symmetrix marketing.

To be more specific, EMC is offering new high-end and entry-level models. The DMX3000 replaces the DMX2000 as the premium array, featuring eight back-end directors and up to 576 disk drives, for a maximum useable capacity of 73.5TB. Perhaps more significant, however, is a new version of the entry-level DMX800. Whereas the first DMX800 came with four back end directors and up to 120 drives, a new configuration will offer a two-director version with only 60 drives, starting at $285,000. That's about 30% less than a comparable four-director unit, Burke says, and reflects what EMC has found in the six months it has been selling the DMX800--"that the bulk of the business was for 60 drives or less."

In many ways, this announcement further blurs the line between EMC's modular Clariion arrays and the DMX800, which costs between 1.6 and 2.25 times the price of a CX600. "Let's face it," says Tony Prigmore, senior analyst at the Enterprise Storage Group, "the CX600 is plenty fast and has good data replication capabilities." The DMX800 makes sense for companies with existing Symmetrix software, he says, "but most green field opportunities are going to go with Clariion."

To sweeten the DMX pot, EMC has stuffed the DMX with a bevy of new features. Among them is a new Multi Protocol Channel Director board (MPCD) which can be equipped with 2Gb/s FICON, Gigabit Ethernet, or--get this--iSCSI. Symmetrix is the first EMC product to support iSCSI. MPCDs for the DMX800 come in two-port configurations, while other DMX models can run two- or four-port MPCDs.

Gigabit Ethernet connectivity dovetails with another new product, Asynchronous SRDF, or SRDF-A, which Burke says gets data beyond "the speed of light range." Today, asynchronous mirroring requires SRDF to be coupled with TimeFinder, sending individual changes. In contrast, SRDF-A tracks and sends changes in a given period (so-called delta sets), requiring average, rather than peak, bandwidth.

Other new features include EMC Snap, copy-on-write snapshot software, additional IBM iSeries application support, and last but not least, nondisruptive upgrades to the Enginuity operating system. And if nothing else, Burke says, the new Enginuity will get you a 20% performance improvement.

This was first published in August 2003

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