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EMC DMX vs. Centera

SAN expert Greg Schulz answers a reader's question regarding EMC DMX vs. Centera storage devices.

I'm evaluating whether to use an EMC DMX or a Centera storage device for the amount of data I have. I understand DMX storage is faster than Centera in retrieval rate but more expensive. However, I don't have any solid matrix to prove that. Do you have any facts about the data retrieval rate for DMX vs. Centera?
Simply put, what are your storage requirements and application scenario? More specifically, how much storage do you need now and in the future, what level of performance is required as well as the level of availability and types of servers or applications that will be using the storage. Are you looking for online, primary storage or secondary or near-line storage for compliance, retention, archiving or other purposes? Comparing the EMC DMX with the EMC Centera is an apple to oranges comparison at best as both are focused on different usage scenarios and service capabilities.

The EMC DMX would be for primary storage where the Centera would be for compliance, fixed content, archiving and retention among other uses. A more apples to apples comparison would be to compare the EMC DMX with the Fujitsu Eternus, IBM DS8000 as well as Hitachi (HDS USP and HP XP) storage systems. Other alternatives for primary open systems storage include EMC CLARiiON and Celerra, IBM DS4000 (Engenio/LSI), Sun, HP, 3PAR, NetApp, LeftHand, EqualLogic and ONStor among others. If your needs are for archiving and data retention based storage, in addition to the EMC Centera other solutions include those from or based on Archivas (HDS), Bycast (HP MAS & IBM MAS), IBM DR5xx and Nexsan among others.

In terms of performance characteristics and related technical comparisons take a look at the various vendors' websites of the above mentioned solutions. There are some benchmark data posted on the storage performance council (http://www.storageperformance.org/home) website that may be of interest, however keep in mind that before you go comparing different solutions based upon speeds and feeds, take time to understand your storage and application requirements and then align the applicable technology to those needs.

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