Face-Off: EMC DMX-3 vs. Hitachi USP1100


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New technology directions
Both EMC Corp. and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) Corp. are tight-lipped when it comes to discussing the roadmaps of their flagship arrays. However, the two companies are willing to hint at some very interesting new features that may show up in the next two years.

Advanced capacity optimization: The ability to reduce the amount of data resident on the production storage array is a key issue that users are calling on vendors like EMC and HDS to address. Expect to see either or both of these companies talk about

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ways to reduce the footprint of their production data stores, increasing the effective capacities of their arrays. Timeframe: 24 months

Advanced data protection and recovery: Both EMC and HDS are interested in fine-grained data capture functionality for their highest-performing arrays. Expect both companies to add advanced image making (e.g., snapshot) and replication capabilities that take advantage of the respective capabilities of their products. Timeframe: 12 months

Advanced security and encryption: Data security is now a paramount issue for both EMC and HDS. The companies are likely to make high-profile announcements around their ability to provide data-at-rest encryption capabilities. Timeframe: 12 months

What to consider
The one indisputable fact is that storage managers must either entrust their storage array controller to handle virtualization (HDS USP) or believe that a variety of virtualization tools, including a network-based virtualization appliance, will deliver the goods (EMC DMX-3). Once again, there's no middle ground. Whatever approach you eventually take, expect a high degree of vendor lock-in.

The ROI battle
The HDS pitch: The economic benefits of the USP are significant because of its flexibility. Customers can create highly optimized internal and external tiering strategies with USP, far beyond what's possible with a DMX-based approach.

The EMC pitch: The DMX enables massive consolidation on a single platform, with ongoing operating efficiencies as a result. HDS can't provide the single-platform footprint that DMX does to achieve these goals.

The real issue: A user's own approach to scaling, storage management and consolidation will point them to either the DMX-3 or USP1100.

This was first published in January 2007

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