EMC holds shipment of 15K drives with CX600

A quality issue has arisen within EMC that is keeping its Clariion CX600 customers from buying the latest 15,000 RPM 36 GB hard drives from Seagate. EMC offered little detail, but admitted a few customer orders were taken before the drives passed quality assurance testing.

EMC Corp. recently hit a snag that left some of its Clariion customers high and drive-less.

The IT director for a large national retailer who asked that his name be withheld from this story, said he ran into some problems after buying EMC's high-end Clariion server, CX600.

"We purchased a CX600, but a day later we were informed they couldn't ship it because the [15,000 RPM] 36 GB drives we purchased were not available," the source said.

When he asked why the drives were not available as advertised, the Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC told him the Seagate drives had not yet passed its quality assurance testing process. Upshot: They didn't work.

EMC offered to supply the customer with 10,000 RPM drives and swap them out with the newer 15K models once they passed muster, the source said, but that still left him in a bind. He said his company needs the faster drives to support some high-performance applications.

EMC said it could not discuss a specific customer situation but admitted that a "quality issue" arose with the newest version of its supplier's 15K 36 GB drives. EMC did not comment on what the problem was, but the company said it has stopped shipments of the drives to EMC customers.

"Before any drive ships in our systems, we ensure it's 100% ready," said EMC spokesman Justin Bartinoski.

Bartinoski said that a few customer orders were taken during the short transition period between drive versions. However, he said, in each instance, the customer has been informed and EMC is managing the situation.

He added that EMC's drive qualification process is stringent. "No drive ships in an EMC product before it passes our quality process, regardless of competitive availability of the same drive," he said. "EMC will work with current and future customers to ensure that Clariion meets their service-level objectives as we remedy this situation with our drive supplier."

Brian Dexheimer, Seagate's executive vice president of sales, marketing and customer service said Seagate is currently shipping its third generation of Cheetah 15K disc drives and leads the market due to quality and performance of its product line over multiple generations.

"We have a broad range of customers and application requirements for our 15K products, and each customer has unique product qualification processes, some of which take longer than others, as is the case with EMC," said Dexheimer. "We have every confidence in the latest

Cheetah 15K.3 disc drive and in our ability to meet the volume, performance and quality requirements of EMC for this product."

EMC said the drive snafu did not impact the Symmetrix or other product lines and that the 15K 36 GB drives should be shipping again next month.

Let us know what you think about the story. E-mailKevin Komiega, News Writer

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